Football: Scottish sponsors decide to pull out

Bell's, the sponsors of the Scottish League, will not renew their agreement when it expires at the end of the season.

Ken Gaunt says the news leaves the game north of the border in disarray.

Scotland's Premier Division clubs are hopeful there will be a positive outcome from talks with the Scottish League management committee today in the wake of the announcement by Bell's yesterday that the firm will not be renewing their sponsorship of the domestic league at the end of the season.

Scotland's top 10 clubs are planning to break away from the league and will outline their proposals at Hampden Park.

However, there is widespread anxiety about funding among the 30 clubs outside the top flight after the decision by Bell's to pull out.

The Hibernian chairman, Lex Gold, spokesman for the Premier Division clubs, tried to allay their fears yesterday. "Wednesday's meeting presents a real opportunity to end the current uncertainty and we expect to answer any outstanding queries," he said.

"We are keen to take forward our proposals, which will benefit Scottish football as a whole, in a spirit of co-operation and have the new arrangements in place for the start of next season.

"It is clear that the status quo will continue to see a decline in the standards of the game in Scotland. Our plans have been developed to ensure that additional revenue comes in to benefit the game."

Gold added: "We have deliberately not approached potential sponsors while we are involved in discussions with other clubs, but we have already received unsolicited inquiries from two organisations. They are excited about the possibilities our proposals present and are keen to discuss potential sponsorship.

"One of those made it clear that they are examining the possibility of sponsoring not only the Scottish Premiership but also those divisions which continue to be run by the Scottish League. The initial sums mentioned are of a significant nature, underlining our commitment to bring more money into Scottish football."

Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County have been with Bell's all the way after joining the league in 1994.

The Inverness secretary, Jim Falconer, said: "We are disappointed Bell's are withdrawing their support as they have been good supporters of this club and helped our progress. But I suppose their stance is understandable, considering all this talk of a breakaway league.

"The Premier Division clubs have already indicated they have a potential sponsor and that money will filter through the leagues. Obviously we hope this comes to fruition."

Ewen Cameron, secretary of Alloa, is urging the breakaway group to confirm their sponsor as a matter of urgency and said: "The fact that Bell's are withdrawing their support at the end of the season is a matter of great concern. We have heard talk that the Premier Division clubs have a potential sponsor but it is all a bit vague.

"We all have budgets to meet and need to work on them at the turn of the year. It is not a job that can be left to the last week of the season."

Andy Neal, consumer marketing director of United Distillers UK, the parent company of Bell's, admitted they had withdrawn their support because of the uncertainty surrounding Scottish football.

"The company had been close to agreeing a way ahead for the sponsorship with league secretary Peter Donald," he said. "But the announcement and follow-up news conferences, with regard to the proposed breakaway, have left it unclear exactly what we would be sponsoring.

"Major organisations such as our own with clear long-term strategies and plans cannot, and will not, commit millions of pounds to projects which do not have similar consistency in direction. As United Distillers is finalising its five-year investment plans now, we cannot commit to Scottish football when its future is so unclear."

Neal added: "Our views on the future of the game were sought as part of the Deloitte Touche report but no discussions have taken place. United Distillers, like the Scottish League, only learned of their intentions at the September 9 news conference. They have not outlined their proposals to us or discussed potential sponsorship. We would have expected a call. We would have done it differently."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before