Sheffield United to be sponsored by Malta

LONDON - Sheffield United has signed the Mediterranean island of Malta as its sponsor for the 2008/09 season.

The deal includes having the logo on Sheffield United's playing strip, as well as Malta tourism branding at the club's Bramall Lane stadium.

United's newly appointed executive director Mike Farnan oversaw the deal, with consultant Carly Barnes securing the sponsorship.

Jason Rockett, United chief executive, said: "This really is an international sponsorship deal with a difference.

"Whilst financially a good deal, the sponsorship will see us working in partnership with the island's government to deliver dual benefits including the development of players, community schemes and proactively marketing Malta as a tourist destination.

"The spin-offs for us and Malta could be huge. We look forward to developing all aspects of this sponsorship deal," added Rockett.

As part of the deal Sheffield, who play in the Carling Championship league, will work with Malta to manage an academy for emerging young players who are capable of playing for the island's national team, and also the development of a community programme for young Maltese.

Chris Fenech, director for UK & Ireland for the Malta tourist authority, said: "We believe that the collaboration between the two parties, which will stretch to beyond the simple footballing aspects, will be of benefit to all."