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Football: Sponsors ready to dump Leicester.

Byline: DARREN LEWIS

LEICESTER CITY were last night bracing themselves for another blow with one of their chief sponsors now ready to pull out over the La Manga sex scandal.

Alliance and Leicester - the bank which sponsors the club's shirts - are reviewing their pounds 2milllion deal with the Foxes following six days of negative publicity arising from the arrest of nine City players.

It is another blow to boss Micky Adams (pictured right). Three of his squad - Paul Dickov, Frank Sinclair and Keith Gillespie - have been in a Spanish jail since last Wednesday.

And the Alliance and Leicester are understood to be dismayed that their image has been linked with the controversy which has shamed English football.

Disgusted customers of the bank have started closing their accounts in a backlash against the disgraced club.

The company have reported client withdrawals at branches throughout the UK and bosses have held talks on how to deal with the crisis.

A spokesman for the Alliance and Leicester said:"Our position has not changed as of last week. We are aware of the situation. We understand that our customers and the public are concerned by stories such as this."

Confirmation that the Alliance and Leicester want to take their cash elsewhere is now expected at the end of the season.

Leicester boss Adams and Chief Operating Officer Paul Mace have both appeared at high-profile press conferences in which the Alliance logo has had considerable prominence.

With the scandal showing no sign of slowing down Alliance sources are becoming increasingly concerned about the effect on the bank's image.

Their pounds 1million-a-year deal with the Foxes started at the beginning of this season and runs until May 2005.

Last season a consortium led by Match of the Day frontman Gary Lineker rescued the club from administration after it teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

But they are still desperate for cash and to lose the support of the Alliance would be a major blow for the troubled club.

CAPTION(S):

LINEKER: Rescue
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 10, 2004
Words:336
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