A number of New York schools are struggling to pay bills for their sports departments because money from the marketing deal between the city and soft drink Snapple has not arrived.

The New York Times quoted one principle, Anthony Rotunno, saying: "We're basically treading water right now."

Snapple bought exclusive rights to sell its beverages in schools in exchange for US$40m. The company also pledged US$3m a year to school sports programmes.

According to the Department of Education the money should come through in January.

The Times quoted Snapple spokesman Steven Jarmon saying: "I'm sorry that there's been some confusion. We feel like it's gone very smoothly."