By Liam Morgan

NOW: Pensions has pulled out of its sponsorship deal with England and Great Britain Hockey ©NOW:PensionsEngland and Great Britain Hockey have announced principal partner NOW: Pensions has decided to end its sponsorship deal just 18 months before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Its sponsorship of the men's international teams will cease next month, while their deal as the main sponsor of the Men's Hockey League and Cup will come to an end in May.

The news represents a blow to the sport in Great Britain ahead of London hosting the 2015 EuroHockey Championships in August.

England Hockey and Great Britain Hockey are now on the search for a new main sponsor.

"Our relationship-orientated, can-do approach ensures we deliver positive outcomes for our partners and I'd like to thank NOW: Pensions for its hard work, helping to raise the profile of the sport over the past two years," England and GB Hockey chief executive Sally Munday said.

"Eighteen months out from a Summer Olympics, this is a perfect time to be associated with our sport."

The agreement, which was signed two years ago, covered shirt sponsorship, Olympic athlete endorsement and PR opportunities among other benefits.

Adam Dixon scored one of England's goals as they won bronze at last year's Commonwealth Games with a win on penalties over New Zealand ©Getty ImagesAdam Dixon scored one of England's goals as they won bronze at last year's Commonwealth Games with a win on penalties over New Zealand ©Getty Images

NOW: Pensions chief executive Morten Nilsson feels his company has reaped the benefits from the deal but that they had other priorities moving forward.

"Over the past two years, our business has completely transformed," he said.

"Our relationship with England and GB Hockey has been integral in helping us achieve this growth and the partnership has delivered all that we hoped it would and more.

"But, as the auto enrolment market gathers pace, our focus has to be on delivering the best possible service to our clients and our core business is taking priority.

"We wish England and GB Hockey the very best for the future and will continue to keenly follow the continued success of the men's team."

England's men claimed bronze and the women silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year, while Britain's women also achieved bronze at the London 2012 Olympics.

"Our partnership with NOW: Pensions has helped raise the profile of the national team, supporting our success at both domestic and international tournaments," England and GB Hockey men's head coach Bobby Crutchley added.

"As we look towards Rio 2016, a great opportunity now exists for a new sponsor to become part of our team, working alongside us on what promises to be an exciting journey."

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