Soccer-Barclays denies has decided to end Premier League backing

LONDON Wed May 21, 2014 6:06am EDT

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LONDON May 21 (Reuters) - Barclays dismissed reports that it had would drop its sponsorship of the English Premier League as premature, the bank noting that the 120 million pound ($202 million) contract has another two years to run.

Speculation that Barclays would end its title sponsorship increased after Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore had to apologise for sending sexist e-mails in an episode that has embarrassed the League.

"We are one year into a three year deal and there is no truth to rumours that we have made a decision not to renew," said a spokesman for Barclays, a sponsor since 2001.

Discussions on a sponsorship renewal would normally begin in earnest a year before the deal expires.

Barclays has not commented publicly on the Scudamore issue but has expressed its disappointment in private discussions with the League.

Barclays said last year that it was reviewing all sponsorship across the banking, ending its support for a cycle hire scheme in London.

Antony Jenkins, who took over as bank chief executive in August 2012, is not a soccer fan. His predecessor Bob Diamond was a supporter of London club Chelsea. ($1 = 0.5935 British Pounds) (Reporting by Steve Slater; writing by Keith Weir. Editing by Patrick Johnston)

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