Waiting game on Town shirt name

IPSWICH Town are facing a new European challenge – this time well off the football pitch.The club won't know what name players will have on their shirts next season until the results of a European Union investigation are published.

IPSWICH Town are facing a new European challenge – this time well off the football pitch.

The club won't know what name players will have on their shirts next season until the results of a European Union investigation are published.

And that could take many months – until after next season's strip is due to be unveiled at the end of the season.

The sponsorship deal with Ipswich Town was included in the deal which saw Powergen buy TXU Energi's UK retail business last week.

After this season, the sponsorship has another two years to run – but the name TXU Energi could be extinct in the UK by then.

Powergen's deal to buy the retail arm of TXU included the Ipswich Town sponsorship deal. The Coventry-based power giant wants to re-brand all its customers under its own name – but cannot pull the businesses together until its deal is cleared by European Union competition commissioners.

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Until then Powergen and TXU will continue to operate as separate bodies.

The deal was cleared by the British government and energy regulators last week, but the EU clearance could take several months to be completed.

"It could be as soon as the end of next month, but it could take much longer," said a spokesman at the TXU office in Ipswich.

"Until then we're all in a state of flux and the businesses cannot be fully merged – and we don't know what will happen to the sponsorship."

A spokesman for the EU said a decision from the commission should be released within five months at the outside.

But there was no guarantee it would meet that timetable.

Ipswich Town are due to reveal the new home strip for next season in the spring – in March or April.

By then it will need to know what name to put on the front of the strip – although at present officials at the club are concentrating on more pressing measures, after the appointment of a new manager.

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