England League extends Coca-Cola sponsorship

The Football League of England, which represents the three professional leagues below the FA Premier League in that country and which claims to be the third or fourth most watched football competition in Europe, has extended its naming rights sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola until the end of the 2009/10 season. Coca-Cola began its partnership with the League in 2004 and the three-year extension is a significant rise on the previous agreement.

League chairman Lord Brian Mawhinney said: "The previous sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola was the largest with which the League has been involved. This has now been eclipsed by the new sponsorship deal. It is hard to convey how important this new contract is for the Football League."

Mawhinney also insisted the League could continue to prosper despite the ever-increasing wealth and profile of the Premiership. "When running the Football League, you are always conscious of the elephant in the room, which is the Premiership. They are bigger than us, they have more money than us, and they are going to have even more money than we do. But it is probable that about 16 million fans will go through the turnstiles at our grounds this season, and that shows we are not an irrelevance."