Emirates announce Arabian Gulf League partnership

Emirates announce Arabian Gulf League partnership
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Published August 14th, 2015 - 22:19 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Emirates airline announced a Dh 25 million three-year sponsorship agreement with the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) on Thursday.

The deal means Dubai-based carrier will become the UAE domestic football season’s official partner and airline, supporting not only the Arabian Gulf League but the Arabian Gulf Super Cup, Arabian Gulf Cup and the Under-21 Arabian Gulf League until 2019, in exchange for high visibility and branding.

Fifty per cent of the revenue from the deal will be divided among all 14 league clubs, while the remaining 50 per cent will be split among the winners of each competition.

Telecommunication giants Etisalat were the last major sponsors of the local football league signing a five-year title sponsorship agreement worth Dh250 million in 2008, which expired in 2014.

Emirates had long been identified as a potential partner of the league, which turned professional in 2008, especially as the airline has built its brand sponsoring football clubs all over the world - including Arsenal, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Paris Saint Germain - but not locally.

“The league has reached the stage now where we feel it is line with our brand strategy,” said Shaikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates divisional senior vice president of commercial operations. “We see our partnership as an opportunity to connect with football fans in our home, the UAE.

“We also want to align our brand with the league to strengthen its position as one of the fastest growing leagues in Asia, and to support its vision to become one of the most professionally run leagues in the region providing UAE football a platform to thrive at the international level.”

Suhail Al Areefi, Chief Executive Officer of the UAE Pro League Committee (PLC) welcomed the deal. “This will increase income for all 14 clubs,” said Al Areefi. “And Emirates is a big brand known all over the world, so this will also increase the value of our league.

“For this partnership, we wish Emirates get what they pay for that we can add for them more value.”

Al Areefi also confirmed that the local football league season would start as planned with the Arabian Gulf Super Cup on Saturday, followed by the Arabian Gulf League on August 19 and the Arabian Gulf Cup on August 27.

There had been suggestion that the PLC would delay the start of the league season by a month after Kuwait announced that it would postpone December’s Gulf Cup by a year in order to maintain stadiums. Murmurs from inside Kuwait suggest they could be about to reverse this decision.

Without a winter break to account for the regional national team tournament, there would be no need for the UAE league season to start so early but Al Areefi said with or without the Gulf Cup in December, the league would stick to the initial dates.

© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2015. All rights reserved.

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