Emirates, the Worldwide Partner of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, on Wednesday signed a sponsorship agreement with the UAE Rugby Association, becoming the Official Airline of the association and its National teams.
The agreement will span five years and will see the Emirates logo proudly displayed on players' shirts across the league, making its international debut on April 23 when the UAE's National team take on Sri Lanka in the 2011 Asian 5 Nations tournament.
Emirates has been the driving force behind some of the UAE 's most popular rugby events, most notably the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens that has been a resounding success since inception in 1987.
"Emirates has a strong affiliation with rugby both in the UAE and around the globe and our sponsorship of UAE RA is an excellent way of reinforcing our passion for the sport," said Ahmed Khoory, Emirates Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, Gulf, Middle East and Iran. "The popularity of rugby in the UAE continues to grow each year and it is our intention that this sponsorship further stimulate the development of rugby in the emirates."
For his part, UAE RA Chairman Mohammad Abdulrahman Falaknaz, said, "The UAE RA is very proud to have secured Emirates as the Official Airline of the UAE RA. Emirates are an undisputed leader in the sports-sponsorship arena, and this agreement offers a strong statement of belief and support in our focus and the future direction of rugby in the UAE, " indicating that "We look forward to working closely with Emirates in our collective goal to grow the game beyond its current level well into the future." Emirates' commitment to rugby will come to the fore this September as Worldwide Partner of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, to be held in New Zealand.
The airline has rugby sponsorships around the globe including partnerships with the IRB (International Rugby Board), USA Rugby and the Rugby World Cup Sevens. Emirates is also the Official Sponsor of the UK's Rugby Football League, Super League and the England Rugby League Team.