Vauxhall is ending its £6million-a-year sponsorship deal of England after the next World Cup.
The car company – along with Nike – is the leading sponsor of England and has been involved since June 2011 after it took over from Nationwide, which had taken the role for 11 years.
The move comes as a something of a surprise although the Football Association, which has recently negotiated lucrative new television deals and a new contract with kit supplier Nike, will regard it as an opportunity for an improved agreement with a new partner.
Vauxhall has decided not to extend its deal, which runs out after the World Cup in Russia, although it wants to remain involved with England.
Vauxhall is also ending similar deals with the other home nations – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The GM-owned company’s sponsorship covers the England senior men’s team, the Under-21s, the women’s team, all the youth teams and the England disability sides. The Vauxhall branding was highly visible on all the England training kit and advertising hoardings, of course.
The value of the Vauxhall deal to the FA was never officially disclosed but industry experts estimated it was worth around £6million-a-year when the last contract was signed in 2013. The FA will undoubtedly hope to agree a contract worth substantially more with Vauxhall’s successors.
Mark Bullingham, FA commercial and marketing director, said: “We’ve enjoyed a strong partnership with Vauxhall since they started and will continue to develop exciting plans as we look to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next year.
"After that we will go to market for a new England lead partner, which represents an exciting opportunity for brands to connect with England football fans throughout the country. The opportunity to partner with the national team in the largest sport in the world can be transformative.”
England announced their 2014 World Cup squad at Vauxhall's headquarters in Luton, with the British car maker playing a major role in media activities and across social media platforms - especially at last summer's European Championships where England, Wales and Northern Ireland all competed.
Vauxhall said in its statement that it had "agreed to explore other opportunities to continue its relationship with the FAs beyond the conclusion of the existing contracts".