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Hyundai ‘set to exit’ A-League title sponsorship

Joshua Nisbet of the Central Coast Mariners contests the ball against Simon Cox of Western Sydney Wanderers during their A-League match (by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Korean automotive manufacturer Hyundai is reportedly close to ending its long-running title sponsorship of club competition the A-League, leaving Football Federation Australia without one of its main commercial partners.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reports that Hyundai Australia has told FFA of its intention not to renew its current contract, which is due to expire in June. In July 2016, Hyundai extended its title sponsorship agreement with the A-League through a four-year deal worth A$6m (€3.6m/$4m) per annum covering the 2016-17 to 2019-20 seasons.

The Herald adds that there may yet be the possibility that Hyundai agrees to a one-year extension, granting FFA time to secure a new main sponsor. Hyundai’s director of marketing, Bill Thomas, said: “Conversations are currently ongoing between Hyundai and Football Federation Australia around Hyundai’s naming rights partnership with the game. Currently we are not in a position to go into detail about these discussions but we will be announcing our plans at the appropriate time.”

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A-League clubs are said to have already been told not to include Hyundai’s logo on their designs for next season’s kits, amid uncertainty over the status of the relationship. Declining public interest in the A-League, plus the instability of the automotive industry, are reported to be the main factors affecting Hyundai’s thinking concerning its FFA association.

An FFA spokesman said: “Commercial discussions are ongoing between Hyundai and Football Federation Australia in relation to its whole of game partnership. As these discussions are continuing, FFA is not in a position to provide any specific comment. FFA greatly appreciates its partnership with Hyundai which has spanned over 15 years.”

The news comes after FFA recently lost another of its sponsors with supermarket chain Aldi opting not to renew its contract upon its expiry at the end of 2019.