Eircom deny pulling plug on domestic soccer


League of Ireland sponsors eircom are remaining tight-lipped this afternoon on reports that the company is set to end it's association with the domestic game at the end of the season.

In a brief statement released today, eircom maintained that discussions are continuing with the Football Association of Ireland and that no decision to pull the plug has already been made.

The company, who have sponsored football in this country since 2000, are understood to be willing to continue their sponsorship of the national side but not the domestic league.

The current combined deal, renegotiated in 2003 and believed to be worth in the region of €1.2 million per anum, is due to expire at the end of the year.

"The current contract is due to expire at the end of 2008," read today's statement. "Eircom is currently in discussions with the FAI regarding sponsorship of Irish soccer.

"Theses discussions are ongoing and eircom will not comment on specific aspects until the negotiations have concluded."

The FAI were equally coy this evening, stating merely that they are "currently in discussions with eircom on all aspects of sponsorship. The talks are at an advanced stage and we won't be commenting any further until they have concluded".

Should eircom withdraw their support, it could hardly come at a worse time for the FAI with a number of clubs already in dire financial straits. And given the current economic climate, it is hardly an opportune time for the league to be seeking new backers.