Chevrolet have taken the surprising step of inserting a relegation clause into their seven-year shirt sponsorship deal with Manchester United.
United have been looking at potential new sponsors, with the American car manufacturer General Motors unlikely to renew their £59 million-a-year contract that runs down at the end of next season.
Sportsmail has learned that the agreement signed in 2012, before Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, included financial protection should United suffer an unthinkable relegation to the Championship.
That would only come into force after two consecutive seasons outside the top flight, industry sources stated.
United declined to comment. A spokesman said: “Chevrolet is a fantastic partner and we will continue to work with them to activate and maximise the sponsorship.” It is believed that Aon, the previous principal sponsors from 2010-2014, did not include any such stipulations.
United have sacked three managers — David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho — during Chevrolet’s association with them. Sportsmail reported that indifferent league performances have left GM bosses unimpressed with their heavy investment.
Chevrolet are only the fifth shirt sponsor in United’s history and club officials are confident that their sixth will financially eclipse it.