Emirates, the Dubai airline, has signed a three-year deal to sponsor the FA Cup, football’s oldest cup competition.
The competition has been rebranded as The Emirates FA Cup, making the airline the first title sponsor in the English tournament’s 144-year history.
The English Football Association was seeking a new sponsor after Budweiser ended its three-year sponsorship deal last year.
While the value of the deal between Emirates and the FA was not disclosed, it has been reported to be worth about £10 million (Dh56.5m) a year.
“Football is a truly global sport, a unifying factor in many communities and nations across the world,” said Emirates president Tim Clark.
“Never is this more evident than with The FA Cup, which has an unrivalled heritage and draws a global audience of more than 1.1 billion people. The spirit of competition, fair play, and sparking the passions of a global audience, are all values we share at Emirates.”
Emirates already sponsors Arsenal in the English Premier League, plus AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A, Real Madrid in Spain’s La Liga and Paris St Germain in France’s Ligue 1.
Earlier this month it announced a three-year sponsorship deal with Portuguese league champions Benfica.
Research from the consultancy Repucom showed that the UAE was the single biggest investor in shirt sponsorship in Europe between 2005 and now.
Arsenal last night won the FA Cup for the second consecutive year year after they beat Aston Villa 4-0 at Wembley in London.
It was the biggest FA Cup final victory in 21 years, and made Arsenal the most successful club in the competition’s history as they lifted the iconic silverware for the 12th time.
Greg Dyke, chairman of the FA, said the partership with Emirates will “help take the tournament to new audiences inspire interest in football from across the globe and allow us to continue our investment into the game at all levels”.
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