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Voda logo takes early bath at Man U

Sponsorship deal ends prematurely

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The Vodafone logo will disappear from Manchester United shirts at the end of this season - May 2006 - after the two agreed to end their £9m a year sponsoship deal two years earlier than expected.

It may not mean the end of the financial love-in, though, as both parties are reportedly "keen to continue their successful relationship and are exploring an ongoing sponsorship deal". There is, however, speculation that pressure from fans on Voda to terminate the deal in protest at Malcolm Glazer's controversial buy-out of the club may have played a part.

No so, says Voda, which reckons it's looking to "build on its successful sponsorship of Manchester United in new, exciting areas". A spokesman for the Glazer family told Reuters it was "extremely comfortable" with Vodafone's decision to "change the priority of its marketing strategy".

One exciting area Voda is already exploring, albeit outside Old Trafford, is the UEFA Champions League. The company has just inked a deal to sponsor the European contest from July 2006 as "Official Partner" and "Official Mobile Network". The company will offer "video highlights and goal alerts from all Champions League matches to football fans who have its latest high-speed, third-generation (3G) mobile phones". ®

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