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The Football Association's (FA) in-house legal team has revamped the way it handles sponsorship contracts, bringing all the work in-house and moving to cut its external legal spend by half.
Bird & Bird, which advised on the last round of sponsorship contracts in 2002, has lost out on the lucrative mandate as part of an FA-wide cost- cutting campaign, instigated after Lord Burns' 2005 review of the organisation.
The FA's head of legal and business affairs Alistair MacLean is overseeing negotiations as the FA implements a new sponsorship structure, to be effective at the conclusion of the forthcoming World Cup.
"We've had a general build-up of expertise across a range of areas and we're now more efficient in-house and better able to deal with a greater volume of work," said MacLean. "There's been a huge amount of work that would ordinarily have been outsourced if not for the team we've now got."
Negotiations on England's official World Cup song were handled in-house (the process was outsourced for Euro 2004), as are bids to host the Champions League final in 2009 or 2010.