HYNDBURN Council is to become the official sponsor of Accrington Stanley at a cost of £45,000 over the next three years.
The move, announced this week, has the support of both parties on the council. The council is aiming to tap into Stanley's new high profile following their promotion to the Nationwide Conference.
Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "We are pleased to have secured this sponsorship deal and to have the Hyndburn brand on the famous red shirts. One of the primary benefits of this partnership is the amount of positive publicity Hyndburn will receive.
"It will raise our profile significantly and, as Accrington Stanley go from strength to strength, the Borough of Hyndburn will be promoted to fans throughout the whole country and even abroad.
"We are a forward-thinking council and fully intend to exploit the positive opportunities and community benefits associated with this partnership. Where politics is often divisive, sport is something around which we can all unite."
Councillor Mrs Jean Battle, leader of the Labour opposition, said "This is a first-rate partnership for both organisations, and to be associated with such a famous institution as Accrington Stanley is a very positive move for the council.''
The deal, costing the council £15,000 a year for three years, will also bring football into the community, providing professional coaching opportunities for young people. This will be done through a series of workshops and training sessions which will take place in schools and at various venues throughout the year.
School holiday workshops will be run in conjunction with "in-school'' training, to ensure a comprehensive training programme.
Stanley chairman Eric Whalley said: "Hopefully this is the start of a long and good relationship with the council. We will be running a soccer school next month in conjuction with the council and the club will be visiting local primary schools with a view to teaching the children about football and Stanley. The money will come in useful as obviously, with being promoted into the Conference, we will have increased costs next season."