English Premier League side West Bromwich Albion are in talks with some leading Indian companies after their current sponsor decided to pull the plug in the wake of striker Nicolas Anelka's controversial racism-linked goal celebration in an EPL match.
Albion, a mid-table EPL side, will have to find a new sponsor after London-based property company 'Zoopla' decided not to renew their two-year USD 3 million sponsorship deal which runs till the end of current season over Anelka's 'quenelle' gesture which some say is an inverted Nazi salute and has anti-Semitic connotations.
Albion Sales and Marketing Director Adrian Wright said at the sidelines of an event here that he would meet some top corporates in the country for a possible deal for the main sponsor of the club.
"We are going to meet some top corporate houses in India which have shown interest in becoming a sponsor. It's in a preliminary stage but if an Indian company becomes our sponsor it would be a great development for us. We are going to meet them before we fly out in Saturday," Wright said.
"If it happens the name of an Indian company will be seen for the first time on the jersey of an EPL club during Premier League matches," he said after the launch of its 'Pass It Forward' grassroot international coaching programme in India.
It is learnt that the corporates Albion are going to meet include Airtel, Reliance, Tata and JCB and the meetings have been arranged through the FICCI and CII.
A meeting with Reliance company assumes significance as Albion are reportedly interested in buying a franchisee of Indian Super League proposed to be organised by IMG-Reliance in September.
West Bromwich may be interested in having an Indian company as main sponsor as it has a large Asian population in its surroundings. West Bromwich town is located just a few kilometres from Birmingham, which is Britain's one of the most Asian populated cities.
Wright even went to the extent of saying that the first team of West Bromwich Albion may plan to play exhibition matches in India in the coming years.