Portugal's second division, the Segunda Liga, is set to be rebranded as the Ledman Proliga from next season after the Chinese LED light manufacturer, Ledman, secured the naming rights for the league. The partnership aims to use the Portuguese system to help train up and coming Chinese talent, on and off the pitch.
The deal was announced at a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday with league president and former referee Pedro Proenca present. This makes Ledman the first Chinese company to become the main sponsor of a major European league.
Under the deal, an unusual request that teams in the Segunda Liga must accept a raft of players and assistant coaches from the sponsor’s native country was also included.
However, Ledman have now withdrawn plans to impose a 'minimum usage rate' of 10 players sent to the top 10 clubs of the Segunda Liga after widespread criticism from many quarters, including the Portuguese players’ union.
Instead, a spokesman for the league said that its board will vote to decide on the number of Chinese and Asian players and which clubs they will play for.
A plan to send three Chinese assistant coaches to the Portuguese second tier remains.
"Liga Portugal is open to helping Chinese football in the development of young players, as the new Proliga is focused on promoting young talent," said a statement.
Proofread by John Devlin