Coca-Cola will not renew its three-year sponsorship of the Scottish League Cup when the competition ends in November, according to football sources.
The move also throws the sponsorship of its English counterpart into further doubt.
One source at the Football League says Coke wants to create a new cup that will combine teams from the Scottish Premier and English Premier Leagues and the English first division.The decision follows the move by United Distiller’s earlier this month not to renew Bell’s whisky’s sponsorship of the Scottish Football League (MW October 2).
Bell’s move was triggered by confusion surrounding the organisation of football north of the border after the top-ten clubs’ decided to form their own breakaway league.
Coke’s top-to-bottom involvement in football is well-regarded in the sponsorship industry. However, its two principal properties, the English and Scottish Coca-Cola cups, have been devalued since losing their places in the UEFA cup, which has prompted big clubs to send reserve teams into the competition.
The position in Scotland is compounded by the fact that ten teams, led by Rangers and Celtic, want to form a breakaway division.
Despite its three-year involvement with the competition, which comes to an end in six weeks, Coke will not confirm whether it has opened negotiations with the Scottish League to renew the deal. Negotiations for major sponsorships normally open a year before current deals are due to end.
The company would not comment on renewing the deal.