Football: Visit North Korea? English club strikes bizarre deal with travel company

North Koreans prepare to bow before the statues of late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, on Dec 17, 2018.
North Koreans prepare to bow before the statues of late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, on Dec 17, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - A non-league club in the sixth tier of English football has struck an unlikely new sponsorship deal with a company that offers tours to North Korea, one of the world's most isolated countries.

Blyth Spartans, a club based in the northeast of England, displayed an advertising board during Wednesday's fixture promoting Visit North Korea, which offers travel packages to the impoverished communist state.

Images of the banner quickly began to circulate on social media, prompting both the company and club to confirm the partnership was indeed genuine.

"Visit North Korea is pleased to announce a sponsorship deal with English football club Blyth Spartans F.C.," it said in a statement on its website.

"Although it is certainly unique and unconventional, Visit North Korea is nevertheless proud to be able to help support the great English game at a local level and secure publicity for clubs in the North of England."

Spartans also ran an announcement about the deal in the club's match programme.