BMW Group France and the French Rugby Federation (FFR) will terminate their partnership less than three months before the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The French arm of the German carmaker is in the third year of a four-year contract with the FFR that was scheduled to end in 2020.
The contract, reportedly worth about €4m ($4.5m) per year, will now finish by the end of June.
The two partners claimed in a press release that strategic reasons explained the early termination. BMW Group France said it “wants to build on interactive, experiential and digital formats to meet the increasingly diversified expectations of its customers.” The FFR said it favours partners who wish to continue their commitment to 2023 and beyond “in keeping with its long-term vision.”
But French media have reported that a background of disagreements between BMW and the federation may have influenced the decision. BMW and FFR partners Société Générale, GMF and Orange have previously expressed concerns that jersey sponsor Altrad had received preferential treatment from the federation.
The FFR said that it was in ongoing, advanced discussions with potential partners to replace BMW.