Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Premiership to net new sponsor

Linfield's captain Michael Gault lifts the Gibson Cup

The Irish FA is on the brink of announcing a new four-year sponsorship deal for the Premiership.

And both the association and the new backers are braced for an identity crisis as the league will be sponsored by the same company as the League of Ireland.

The Belfast Telegraph understands that negotiations with Dublin-based electricity providers Airtricity have been concluded and confirmation of the deal is set to be announced soon.

They will replace Carling, whose name had been associated with the league for the last three seasons.

Linfield will begin their defence of the Premiership title when the campaign kicks-off on Saturday, August 11 and those who have struck the new deal will be responsible for coming up with a title that will be easily distinguished from the Republic’s Airtricity League, however, they are now in the final season of their three-year agreement with the FAI.

The new Premiership deal is the latest in a string of sponsorship packages which have brought much needed finance into football in Northern Ireland.

Just last week JJB Sports announced a new four-year agreement to sponsor the Irish Cup and they will also be the main stockists for the new kit, which is being manufactured by adidas in another new deal, which will also run for the next four years.

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William Murphy is back in the Linfield squad for tomorrow night’s Champions League qualifier against AEL Limassol at Windsor Park.

The 38-year-old defender has returned from holiday and will be added to the panel as the Blues attempt to make some in-roads into a 4-0 first leg deficit against the Cypriots.