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Sun 11 Dec 2011 11:34 AM

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Qatar Airways in naming rights talks with Spurs

State-backed carrier said to be forerunner in negotiations for $235m sponsorship deal

Qatar Airways in naming rights talks with Spurs
Tottenham Hotspurs defender Scott Parker
Qatar Airways in naming rights talks with Spurs
Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker. (AFP/Getty Images)

State-backed Qatar Airways is said to be in talks with English Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur to secure a naming rights deal as the club looks to secure private funding for the redevelopment of its home ground, White Hart Lane.

The London-based club is reported to have held tentative discussions with around six to eight potential investors with the carrier thought to be the early frontrunner to secure the deal, Goal.com reported

Tottenham – also known as Spurs ­ – are said to be asking for £150m ($235m) over ten years but the deal period is likely to be over 15, said the football website. Sources said they believed Manchester City’s naming rights deal with Etihad Airways, which was reported to be worth around £400m, provides a better deal than Arsenal’s £100m, 15-year deal with Emirates Airline.

Qatar Airways were not immediately available for comment.

Tottenham announced last month it planned to de-list its shares and go private as part of a plan to raise capital for a new stadium. Daniel Levy, the club’s chairman, said its current listing on the AIM exchange “restricts our ability to secure funding”.

The football club reported a profit of £402,000 for the period ending 30 June, up from a £6.5m loss in 2010.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways in July announced a reported ten-year, £400m sponsorship deal with Manchester City. The deal saw the English club’s Eastlands home ground renamed the Etihad Stadium and extended the state-backed airline’s sponsorship of the team’s shirts.

The multimillion-dollar deal provided a boost to Manchester City’s bottom line but complaints that the amount of money involved was out of proportion to the scale of the deal have been circulating since the contract was announced.

European football’s governing body in August said it would be scrutinising the sponsorship deal.

Germany-based Bayern Munich’s chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, last week urged UEFA to impose “strict penalties” on free-spending clubs such as Manchester City unless they fall into line with Financial Fair Play regulations.

“I recommend that UEFA should think of harsh punishments, otherwise there will be no financial fair play,” he said. “Let’s take the example of Manchester City. How does it work when you write about a £200m (£194.9m) loss?

“The working group of the UEFA is required here to establish strict penalties. Some clubs want leniency, but in the final analysis, only the exclusion from the international competitions or the non-licensing for the European competitions or Champions League place [is appropriate].”

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