Yangon - A Myanmar whisky maker has struck a deal to become an official brand of Chelsea Football Club, the company said, in the latest sign of change in the one-time pariah state.
International Beverage Trading Co, the group behind Grand Royal Whisky, said in a statement received on Saturday that the two-year deal made it Myanmar's first company to partner with a European football club.
The tie-up gives it the right to use the Chelsea logo and player images for promotions and advertising. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The move comes as Western nations roll back sanctions against Myanmar following a raft of democratic reforms by its 18-month-old quasi-civilian government as the country emerges from almost half a century of military rule.
Four decades ago Myanmar, also known as Burma, was a football force in Asia, but the national team suffered a precipitous decline as the military dictatorship laid waste to the economy.
Chelsea also has a sponsorship deal with Thai beer maker Singha, one of a number of partnerships in the region involving English clubs seeking to cash in on the popularity of the Premier League in football-mad Asia.