Nationwide joins debate on Team England access

One of the Football Association’s (FA) commercial partners has spoken out over a row between the Premier League and the FA, claiming it could affect sponsors’ access to players.

This week, the FA released a statement confirming that the England squad had agreed a new four-year commercial deal with Team England, covering the players’ participation in sponsorship events and promotions. However, the Premier League has complained that it had not been consulted on the details of the deal, amid speculation that clubs may withhold players.

One sponsor, Nationwide head of sports marketing Peter Gandolfi, says that in the past Premier League managers have prevented players from making appearances for sponsors and there had been “nothing the FA could do about it”.

Gandolfi comments: “It’s very worrying to a sponsor when you hear the Premier League threatening to stop making players available.

“This is a symptom of the bigger issue of the commercial side versus the development side of the football. The Premier League, the FA and the Football League have to agree parameters,” he adds.

FA marketing and communications director Paul Barber comments: “The deal with the players is agreed and we fully expect them to deliver on this.”

The FA has signed up Nationwide, Carlsberg, Umbro and McDonald’s to its sponsorship programme so far. A youth sponsor is still being sought, but industry insiders believe the FA may scrap the package if a sponsor is not signed by Christmas.

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