Probably the end of Liverpool shirt deal

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The Independent Online

Carlsberg's 12-year sponsorship deal with Liverpool Football Club is on the verge of collapse.

Carlsberg's 12-year sponsorship deal with Liverpool Football Club is on the verge of collapse.

The deal, the longest-running in the Premiership, comes to an end this season. The two parties had been locked in exclusive negotiations to renew the contract, which is thought to be worth around £6m a year.

But sources say the talks have stalled and Liverpool is thought to be close to securing a replacement sponsor.

The stumbling block is believed to have been Liverpool's failure to win major trophies such as the Premiership. Clubs that regularly win high-profile trophies generate more coverage, both at home and aboard, and command much higher prices.

An industry insider said: "It's a difficult club. It's still an expensive brand but they have not won anything." Another added: "I think there are only a few Premiership clubs that can cut it on a global basis, but Liverpool is now on the fringe of that. If you look at what they won in the 20 years before Carlsberg took over as sponsor, you would have thought they would have won a lot more in the subsequent years."

LG is rumoured to be a possible replacement. The South Korean electronics giant is keen to move into football, and has even been considered as a possible sponsor for the new stadium that the club is about to build.

A spokeswoman for Liverpool refused to comment, although she did confirm the club was in talks with "a number of interested parties" about shirt sponsorship. A spokesman for Carlsberg, which has sponsored various European competitions over the last decade, as well as Liverpool, said he could not comment.

An announcement is expected in the next few weeks. Clubs need to secure deals now if they are to produce replica kits in time for the following season.

Others looking at sponsorship include London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. Chelsea is in talks with various parties, but speculation is growing that the high price tag, thought to be around £9m a year, is deterring some. The club is also thought to have abandoned a proposal to have unbranded shirts next season to mark its centenary.

Travel group Thomson, meanwhile, has begun talks with Spurs. Its contract ends next season.

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