Scottish Life Assurance is suing the Welsh Rugby Union, after accusing the sports body of tearing up its sponsorship deal in favour of a more lucrative offer from Lloyds TSB.
The Scottish financial services company claims the WRU cost it 250,000 in lost promotional opportunities and loss of reputation. In a nine-page writ lodged at the High Court, Scottish Life is suing for damages “in excess of 50,000”, and for the enforcement of the remaining part of the sponsorship deal.
The company claims the WRU ditched the last two years of an existing four-year deal covering four international matches when Lloyds TSB became sponsors of the Five Nations Championship earlier this year.
In 1995 Scottish Life agreed to pay the WRU 310,000 to be the title sponsor for the Five Nations Welsh home matches against Scotland in 1996 and 1998, and against England in 1997 and 1999.
This year Lloyds bid 20m over three years to sponsor the whole Five Nations championship, as first re-vealed in Marketing Week (November 6 1997). This was the first time the matches had been sold as one package.
Scottish Life claims that despite discussions with the WRU, there was no agreement to give up the title sponsorship of its remaining games.
A statement issued by Scottish Life says: “We have taken substantial steps to give the WRU the opportunity to honour its obligations. We are disappointed that we have been forced into taking this action.”
A spokeswoman for the WRU says: “We will strenuously contest the action brought by Scottish Life.”