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Emirates to connect fans to next two Rugby World Cups

28 January 2014

Emirates, a global connector of people and places, and Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL), today announced a sponsorship agreement for Rugby World Cup 2015 and 2019 which will be held in England and Japan respectively.

The airline also extended its sponsorship of the International Rugby Board’s (IRB) match officials until the end of 2019, which includes for the first time in Rugby World Cup (RWC) history the rights to brand the shirts of match officials on the field of play during the tournament. Since the inception of RWC in 1987, no brand has ever featured on the playing kits of players or match officials.

Emirates first sponsored the RWC 2007 in France as a Tournament Sponsor, and then became a Worldwide Partner for RWC 2011 in New Zealand.

Emirates is well positioned to fly fans to England with four services a day from New Zealand offering connections at Dubai to its direct flights to key RWC venue cities, including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle.. It currently offers over 100 flights per week into the UK, of which 42 are serviced by its flagship A380 aircraft.

“Rugby is a core part of Emirates’ sports sponsorship portfolio,” said Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline. “We’ve supported rugby around the world for more than 20 years, and we are glad to have helped connect hundreds of thousands of passionate rugby fans from around the globe through these events. Rugby is an international sport that reaches an international audience, many of whom are Emirates customers.

“The 2011 tournament in New Zealand was the most widely-broadcast Rugby World Cup ever, and we anticipate the next two Rugby World Cups will only be more spectacular. For Emirates, it was a natural decision to be the first Worldwide Partner of both the England and Japan tournaments, and as official airline we look forward to flying fans to experience the event for themselves.”

"We are excited to be renewing our long-standing and highly-successful partnership with Emirates,” said Brett Gosper, IRB Chief Executive and Rugby World Cup Limited Managing Director. “Emirates is a strong champion of rugby worldwide and the reappointment of a globally renowned brand and a world leader in the airline industry further underscores the enormous prestige of Rugby World Cup in the global sporting and business marketplaces,"

"We look forward to building on our strong collaboration with Emirates to further enhance the promotion of rugby and the world's top referees as we build towards and beyond what promises to be an exceptional England 2015 tournament that will engage and inspire new fans and participants the length and breadth of the host nation and around the world," he added.

In terms of the agreement, Emirates will be an official Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015 and 2019, as well as the official airline. The familiar ‘Fly Emirates’ logo will adorn the shirts of match officials, and Emirates will have its branding displayed around all stadiums in England and Japan where matches will be played during the six-week long tournaments.

RWC 2015 kicks off on 18 September at Twickenham Stadium in London; with hosts England taking on a yet-to-be decided qualifying national team from the Oceana 1 region. So far 13 countries have qualified for the tournament, with the remaining seven teams to make up the final 20 to be decided through qualifying matches over the coming months.

From left to right, IRB referees Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Steve Walsh (Australia), Craig Joubert (South Africa) and Wayne Barnes (England) at Madinat Jumeirah. They were among a group of 21 referees who recently attended an IRB training camp at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai. Emirates has extended its sponsorship of the IRB referees until 2019.


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