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Travel firm crash hits Hammers shirt sponsorship deal

PUBLISHED: 13:51 12 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:37 05 October 2010

SUNDERLAND, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 29:  Freddie Ljungberg of West Ham grabs his leg as he goes down injured during the Barclay's Premier League match between Sunderland and West Ham United at the Stadium of Light on March 29, 2008 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

SUNDERLAND, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 29: Freddie Ljungberg of West Ham grabs his leg as he goes down injured during the Barclay's Premier League match between Sunderland and West Ham United at the Stadium of Light on March 29, 2008 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

HAMMERS have lost their major sponsorship partners with the XL holiday package group going into administration. The sponsorship was worth £2. million a year. It means West Ham players are unlikely to sport the XL’ logo on their shirts in tomorrow’s match at West Bromwich Albion. The economic downturn and rising fuel prices have been blamed for XL’s demise

Mike Brooke

HAMMERS have lost their major sponsorship partners with the XL holiday package group going into administration.

The sponsorship was worth £2½ million a year over three years.

It means the West Ham players are unlikely to sport the XL’ logo on their shirts in tomorrow’s match at West Bromwich Albion.

The economic downturn and rising fuel prices have been blamed for XL’s demise.

West Ham were aware of the potential problem, even though moves were still being made late last night to rescue the travel firm.

XL had a three-year deal with West Ham signed last summer to sponsor the claret and blue shirts.

A West Ham spokesman said: “We are still in the process of clarifying the situation, but for us this suggests that the sponsorship arrangement is at an end.”

West Ham may still be owed some of the sponsorship cash as part of the £7.5m agreement.

The club is now wondering what to compensate supporters who have recently bought this season’s replica shirts with the XL brand.

An estimated 67,000 holidaymakers have been stranded abroad after XL stopped trading last night.

The Civil Aviation Authority is making arrangements with the travel industry to organise repatriation flights. It estimates a further 200,000 have advance bookings on flights to 50 destinations, mainly in the Mediterranean.

Package deals are covered by the ATOL, the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing scheme, which will offer repatriation flights for those already abroad or money back on advance bookings.

XL says on its website that the group has “entered into Administration having suffered as a result of volatile fuel prices, the economic downturn, and were unable to obtain further funding.”

It adds: “The joint administrators cannot continue trading the business and therefore all flights have been immediately cancelled and the aircraft grounded. The joint administrators are unlikely to be able to trade the business or operate the aircraft.”

XL travel companies include Travel City Direct, Medlife Hotels, The Really Great Holiday Company, Freedom Flights and Kosmar Holidays.

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