Barclays pulls out of Olympics sponsorship

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The drive to raise £750m towards the cost of the Olympics from blue-chip sponsors suffered a setback yesterday when it emerged that Barclays Bank, previously considered one of the most likely backers, had not thrown its hat into the ring.

The banking industry has been targeted as the first category to supply a "tier-one" sponsor which would have to part with up to £100m for official association with the London 2012 Olympics.

The deadline for tenders closed within the last two weeks but is thought that Barclays was not among the bidders although it was considered one of the favourites, not least because its Canary Wharf skyscraper is also home to the organising committee, Locog, headed by Lord Coe.

Locog has chosen banking as the first of eight categories as it hopes to "set the bar high" for deals in other categories such as automotive and utilities.

Barclays would not comment on the 2012 project but pointed to its recent £65.8m sponsorship of the Premier League until the end of the 2009-10 season. This deal gives exposure around the world, unlike the 2012 offer which is limited to marketing rights in the UK.