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Thursday, July 23, 1998 Published at 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK

Sport: Football

Axa wins FA Cup

Arsenal were the last Littlewoods-sponsored winners

Axa Assurance is the new sponsor of the FA Cup after a 25m four-year deal with the Football Association.

The insurance company takes over from Littlewoods with immediate effect as the name on the world's oldest football tournament.

The FA commercial director, Phil Carling, said: "In selecting a sponsor for the competition, the Football Association had to be sensitive to the special traditions of the FA Cup.

"We were anxious to find a partner that would have a feeling for the competition and its unique properties."

He said the FA's Charter for Quality, which is revolutionising youth development, the women's game, which will see their own FA Cup and Premier League sponsored by Axa, and the National Stadium will all benefit from the investment.

Cup's second sponsor

Axa, who are perhaps best known in the sporting world for their association with cricket's Sunday league, will be its second sponsor after Littlewoods ended their 14m three-year involvement.

It will be called the Axa-sponsored FA Cup, rather than the old-style FA Cup sponsored by Axa, to avoid the name being lost in reports.

The FA have insisted throughout the competition's 126-year history the sponsor's name should not be the title of the competition - for example the Coca-Cola Cup or Worthington Cup as the Football League rebranded their League Cup.

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