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Emirates score FIFA sponsorship success

Emirates Airline, the world’s most profitable airline, has signed a record-breaking US$195 million sponsorship deal with FIFA, football’s governing body.

Emirates Airline, the world’s most profitable airline, has signed a record-breaking US$195 million sponsorship deal with FIFA, football’s governing body. The agreement makes Emirates a FIFA Partner from 2007 to 2014, and is the highest level of association a company can have with the organisation.

By 2014, it is estimated that the airline will be twice its current size. In the meantime, Emirates has secured rights to all FIFA events - including the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups - enhanced global media exposure, and an association with FIFA’s special events and international development initiatives.

The landmark sponsorship deal - by far the largest the Dubai-based airline has ever agreed - was signed by Emirates Chairman, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, and FIFA President, Sepp Blatter.

“As an Official Partner of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Emirates wanted to strengthen our association with international football, the most widely supported sport in the world,” said Sheikh Ahmed. “It is part of Emirates' plan to become a global brand and household name, and association with the most high-profile sporting event in the world is one part of Emirates’ strategy to achieve that aim.”

In addition to hosting a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, the deal also offers Emirates the opportunity to host a second official FIFA tournament in the UAE, further enhancing the country’s position as a budding centre of sporting excellence.

“We believe sport is an ideal vehicle to communicate with our passengers, and football is a perfect platform for us to share and enjoy their passion and commitment,” Sheikh Ahmed continued. “This Partnership will enable us to achieve global awareness of our brand at football events all around the world as well as in our home territory of Dubai.

“It is our intention for the United Arab Emirates to host a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup during the rights period, which would be the first event of its kind to be held in the Arab world. Emirates becoming a FIFA Partner is good for Emirates, good for Dubai, and good for the UAE,” he concluded.

The UAE will relish the chance to host such events, using it them as an opportunity to showcase the emirates’ infrastructure and world-class facilities.

“I am immensely proud that this prestigious and successful airline has once again decided to place its faith in FIFA - this time at an even higher level and with a longer-term commitment,” said Blatter. “We look forward to working with such a dedicated partner who shares our ideals and mission to develop and intensify the global appeal of football even further.”

As part of its Partnership status, Emirates has also secured a commitment from FIFA to ensure that at least 22 matches - including the opening match, two quarter-finals, the semi-finals, the third place play-off and the final - of both the 2010 and the 2014 FIFA World Cups may be shown on free-to-air television within the territory of the United Arab Emirates.

Additionally, Emirates passengers will be able to watch either live or delayed coverage of tournament matches as part of the airline’s in-flight entertainment services.

The Partnership status places Emirates alongside Visa, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Sony and Hyundai in the exclusive club of six that are FIFA’s key backers for the period of the agreement.

Emirates branding will be evident at all FIFA events during the eight years of the agreement - which covers some 44 tournaments and 952 matches - as well as on all FIFA merchandise and the governing body's website, which will be visited by billions of people during the Partnership.

As FIFA’s only Travel Partner, Emirates receives preferred airline status and a commitment from FIFA to develop business with Emirates - including team and football association travel wherever logistically possible. This should allow the airline to gain exposure to new customers around the world, and to further develop Dubai as one of the world’s premier travel hubs and destinations.

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