March 10, 2010

Unibet I Liga loses title sponsor

The Polish Football Association (PZPN) and Unibet have suspended their cooperation on sponsoring the Polish 1. Liga.

The reason is the adoption of the new legal act on games of chance, which came into force on 1 January 2010.

"In connection with the adoption of the Act on games of chance, which came into force on 1 January 2010, the Polish Football Association, and the company Unibet have been forced to suspend implementation of the provisions of the sponsorship agreement dated 3 September 2009 (...) " told in a special statement.

Representatives of the Polish Football Association stressed that cooperation with the company Unibet has not been completed, but only suspended.

"It's an important difference. Having explained the legal uncertainty associated with the new law and sponsorship opportunities for sports betting companies, they still intend to continue with our cooperation," said Agnieszka Olejkowska, a spokeswoman for PZPN.

Suspension of cooperation is not only the disappearance of the sponsor's logo on players shirts and stadiums, but also withholding for 18 clubs in the 1. Liga. For some poorer teams this can be a very serious problem in the spring round. Who will compensate for their losses?

"For now, we can not answer this question. We will soon come to a meeting with representatives of the PZPN and Piłkarskiej Ligi Polskiej (organization of the 1. Liga), in which any decisions will be taken." Olejkowska acknowledged.

As stated in the declaration by Unibet, 1. Liga games will return to its old name. In addition, "Unibet 1. League - Summary" will disappear from the TVP Sport magazine, and the number of matches being transmitted can be considerably reduced.

The Polish Ekstraklasa has also been hit hard by this new act, which has seen both Wisla Krakow and KKS Lech Poznan lose their strategic sponsors - which were sport betting companies.

PZPN's suspension of the 1. Liga title sponsor is to take affect only in Poland, with the Unibet I Liga brand name to still be applicable in foreign use.

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