Etihad quits the race to sponsor Man United

Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad Airways has pulled out from the race to sponsor Manchester United Football Club.

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By  Steve Wrelton Published  April 9, 2006

Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad Airways has pulled out from the race to sponsor Manchester United Football Club. Rival airline Qatar Airways is also rumoured to be interested in a commercial tie-up with the English Premiership side, but a spokeswoman for the airline declined to comment on whether it is involved in negotiations with the club. Etihad’s head of brand management and communications, Ian Ferguson-Brown, said: “Because we are a new airline and we are building our brand it is only prudent that we look at all of the sponsorship opportunities that are available — that includes a whole series of the best-known clubs in the world and not just Manchester United. “Our conversations were professional and very well conducted and, having looked at the possibilities, we came close to an alliance but in the final analysis our conclusion was that we wanted to do something more unique and less predictable.” He added: “Although our discussions were always very positive, after consultation with our guests, we are developing a new and unique series of global sponsorships which will allow them access to the best experiences both in-flight and also at their destination.” Salam Al Shawa, spokeswoman for Qatar Airways, said: “At the moment we are concentrating our efforts on the Asian Games in Doha.” At the time of going to press it was unclear which company the football club would be teaming up with.

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