Barclays could pull out of Premier League in 2010

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The Independent Online

The Premier League could be looking for a new sponsor in 2010 after Barclays bank began a review of its worldwide sports deals.

Britain's third largest bank has held naming rights to the league since 2001 but its current three-year, £65million deal ends at the end of the 2009-10 season.

Libby Chambers, Barclays' global retail and commercial banking chief marketing officer, said the sponsorship has raised the bank's profile greatly worldwide but that doesn't mean that football is exempt from the review.

"There will be a thorough review of our sponsorships to make sure that we are getting a strong return on investment across the board," Chambers said in an interview with Marketing Week.

The bank agreed in June to sponsor the ATP's season-ending tennis championship at about $7 million per year for the next five years. The tournament is moving from Shanghai to London in 2009. Barclays also sponsors golf's Scottish Open and Singapore Open, the Dubai Championships tennis tournament and rugby's Churchill Cup.

But like other banks, Barclays has been hit by the global credit crisis. Its shareholders last month voted in favor of a plan to raise £7billion in a deal that gives Middle Eastern investors a 32 per cent stake in the bank.

Barclays opted to raise the money from investors in Abu Dhabi and Qatar rather than take part in a government bailout plan for the banking industry.

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