The English Schools Football Association (esfa), the governing body of school football in England, is to sell its commercial rights to a single sponsor.
The esfa, of which 14,000 schools are members, runs 14 competitions, including the schools FA Cup, and is responsible for the under-18s international team whose matches often appear on TV. A major attraction for potential sponsors is that the esfa is the only other organisation, apart from the Football Association, which holds the rights to the famous three lions logo.
World Visual Communications (WVC), with consultancy from Sportacus, is handling the hunt, and the agency hopes to announce a sponsor by the end of the year.
The esfa has used a number of different sponsors in the past at different levels, including snack producer Walkers and investment management company Gerrard.
It now wants to use one umbrella sponsor, either a company with no previous experience in the football sponsorship market, or a sports-related brand that could provide kit and equipment.
WVC director Colin Wooldridge says: “The esfa plays a crucial role in developing the future of English players, such as Michael Owen.”
He adds that owning the concept of grass-roots football would be of “extreme value” to corporate sponsors.