The Professional Footballers Association (PFA) is launching a sponsorship scheme for the first time in the union’s 90-year history.
The programme, called the PFA Business Partnership, will offer access to premiership players, hospitality, and the use of the organisation’s logo.
The PFA is the professional players union, it has 3,500 members and looks after their interests at every level of the game.
The association has already signed car manufacturer Mitsubishi and sports brand Adidas, and it is seeking six more sponsors to join the programme.
PFA commercial executive Garry Nelson has devised the scheme, which is similar to sponsorship programmes offered by the Football Association and the Premier League.
Nelson says: “The difference is that we have access to players across the country. So if a company wants to use football to market itself at a local level we can reach out to those players. You do not always have to use star players in small towns, local professional players are opinion formers.”
However, recently England stars like Alan Shearer, Teddy Sherringham and former players like Ray Wilkins and Gordon Banks have been contracted to do commercial work through the PFA.
This week Marks & Spencer begins testing PFA branded boys sportswear in 15 stores across the country using Blackburn goalkeeper Tim Flowers, Coventry captain Dion Dublin and Southampton striker Mark Hughes modelling specially enlarged versions of the clothing. If the tests are successful the intention is to roll out the line nationally.