Late Coca-Cola strike sees off Nationwide

Nationwide has been rocked by the loss of the title sponsorship of the Football League following a late &£15m ambush bid by Coca-Cola.

Nationwide was told the sponsorship rights had gone to Coca-Cola just hours before the deal was made public last Thursday, the day it had expected to finalise its own &£12m deal, following months of exclusive negotiations. Most of the work on the contract and a verbal agreement were already in place.

Sources close to Nationwide say that the financial services company is shocked to be rejected by the Football League after eight years of sponsorship. A Nationwide spokesman admits the company was “disappointed” about the outcome of the deal.

There is now a question mark over Nationwide’s involvement in sponsorship, with its primary rights in football reduced to a partnership of the FA and the England, Wales and Scotland national teams.

A Nationwide spokesman says it is too early to make any decisions on its sponsorship commitments and he would not comment on the future of Nationwide’s sponsorship team headed by Peter Gandolfi.

The Football League will now search for additional partners in a second-tier of sponsorship under Coca-Cola, which will be the main sponsor of the Football League’s three divisions.

The company’s Dasani water brand will become the official water and Powerade the official sports drink of the league. Cover Story, page 22

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