Manchester United's 14m shirt sponsorship payment in doubt after US Congress steps in
United, who are understood to have sounded out the Indian conglomerate Tata Group over the possibility of replacing AIG as shirt sponsors, are due to receive the £14 million payment from AIG ahead of the expiry of the four-year partnership at the end of the 2009-10 season. The American insurance giant is in financial meltdown, however, having been bailed out on no fewer than four times by the US taxpayer as a result of huge losses incurred in recent months. AIG's rescue package, footed by the US government, currently stands in excess of $182.5 billion (£125 billion). Related ArticlesEvra: United blip an accidentUnited eager to make amends on pitchNew kit designs for big fourAIG's $4.88bn hit knocks insurance sharesChampions League guideUnited will retain 'disgraced' logoAIG informed United earlier this season that they would not be renewing their sponsorship agreement in 2010 and moves have already been made at Old Trafford to secure new shirt sponsors for the 2010-11 campaign before the autumn. But with AIG prompting a furious reaction in the US earlier this month by using bail-out funds to pay executive bonuses, the terms of the company's agreement with United are now being scrutinised by senior political figures. Congressman Ed Pastor, Democrat representative for Arizona, said: "I think that AIG should drop the sponsorship deal with Manchester United. AIG are no longer an independent private company. They belong to the US government." Pastor's concerns have been echoed by his fellow Democrat representative, Ann Kirkpatrick, who said: "Paying excessive bonuses to executives with taxpayer funds was unacceptable and it is equally unacceptable for US taxpayer money to go to support an English soccer club." AIG have issued assurances that United will receive the outstanding £14 million in full and the club have confirmed that they will continue to wear the AIG logo on their shirts next season, despite plans to rebrand AIG as AIU. Tata Group, which owns Tetley, Corus, Jaguar and Land Rover, and American nutrition supplement company NBTY, have emerged as possible replacements for AIG, with Saudi Telecom and Sahara already having been linked with lucrative agreements with United. A Tata spokesperson said: "There are various sponsorship options, including one for the team shirt. This has been going on for some time, but nothing has been finalised." United declined to comment on the prospect of their current partnership with AIG being scrutinised by US lawmakers.
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