Man Utd rejects ‘record’ shirt deal

Manchester United FC is understood to have turned down the biggest shirt sponsorship deal in history by rejecting Emirates Airlines bid of up to &£7.5m a year.

The world’s largest football club is believed to be holding out for more than &£8.5m a year over four years, worth a total of &£34m.

Its current shirt deal with electronics company Sharp rose from &£1.5m to &£3.5m a year in 1998 and expires in June.

The two companies’ association has been running for over two decades but Sharp is understood to have been priced out of the negotiations.

The new contract will be the biggest shirt sponsorship deal in history. By comparison, Premiership rivals Arsenal FC secured a deal with Sega Dreamcast last year, worth &£10m over three years.

Emirates is understood to have offered more than the original asking price but sources say the club’s decision has left two major global brands vying for the deal. Internet company Yahoo!, Microsoft, Pepsi and Ford have all been linked to the negotiations.

The Manchester United team is in Rio de Janeiro, competing in Fifa’s World Club Championships.

The club is believed to have paid a two-week insurance premium of more than &£1m to protect the team, following safety fears in what has been dubbed “the kidnap capital of the world”.

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