Santander seeks football club sponsorship deal

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Banco Santander, which is in the process of an £8.6bn takeover of Abbey, is considering a major football sponsorship deal to raise Abbey's profile on the high street, sources close to Spain's biggest bank said.

Banco Santander, which is in the process of an £8.6bn takeover of Abbey, is considering a major football sponsorship deal to raise Abbey's profile on the high street, sources close to Spain's biggest bank said.

The bank, which does not sponsor any Spanish clubs, is looking at sponsoring a "mass market" sport in the UK, the source said. Considerations include sponsoring the Premier League or one of the major English football clubs.

The Premiership is currently sponsored by Barclaycard, while the England side is sponsored by Nationwide.

"We have to do something to raise the profile of the Abbey brand," said the source.

Chelsea, currently sponsored by Emirates airline in a £4m-a-year shirt deal, are looking for new sponsors. Its owner Roman Abramovich is believed to want a more generous deal than the one negotiated by the former chairman Ken Bates.

Juan Inciarte, the Santander banker leading the Abbey bid, last week attended the Chelsea game against Porto, although he is not believed to have entered into any discussions with the club's management.

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