Shaikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, President, UAE FA: Tony Douglas, Group CEO and Mohammad Al Bulooki, COO of Etihad Aviation Group, alongwith top officials of the UAEFA pose after signing the landmark deal on Monday. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Dubai: Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has signed a major partnership agreement with the UAE Football Association (UAE FA).

The partnership was officially announced at a signing ceremony at the UAE FA Headquarters in Dubai, by Shaikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, President, UAE FA, Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer and Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, in the presence of Mohammad Hazzam Al Dhaheri, UAE FA General Secretary and board members of the UAE FA, on Monday.

As per the multi-year agreement, Etihad Airways will be the official sponsor of the UAE’s national football teams, including the senior team, Olympic team and all youth teams.

Shaikh Rashid was grateful to the wise leadership of the Rulers and their continuous support for sport, stressing that the leadership’s backing had led to the UAE being known as “the capital of the sporting world”, while providing an opportunity for citizens to taking up various sporting activities within the country.

He noted that the backing of the UAE leaders has also resulted in the development of world-class sporting facilities where UAE institutions have hosted large international events in recent times.

The UAE FA President further lauded Etihad Airways for its contribution to sport, and to football in particular, stressing that the UAE’s national airline plays a major role in supporting sport locally and internationally - while clearly understanding its importance in developing and uniting communities.

Sheikh Rashid affirmed that Etihad’s sponsorship of Emirati football aids the implementation of programmes to develop national teams and helps the football community to continue its work and achieve its administrative and technical goals.

“We are very proud to announce this partnership with Etihad Airways, which is one of the greatest airlines in the world. Every Emirati is proud of the national airline, and I take this opportunity to praise the wisdom of its leaders. I would like to thank Etihad Airways for the sponsorship of Emirati football, which we hope will help to raise the country’s flag in continental and international competitions. The partnership with Etihad adds strength to the Football Association and makes it more capable of facing challenges,” he stressed.

Transformation the target

Group CEO Douglas was pleased to be part of the sponsorship that promises to bring about a transformation in the country’s football. “Football is in our DNA. We’ve been proud supporters of prestigious football clubs around the world for many years, and the entire Etihad family is incredibly excited to support the beautiful game in our home country,” he said.

“This is a hugely significant partnership and we, as the UAE’s national airline, look forward to nurturing this over the years to come,” he promised.

Al Dhaheri, General Secretary of UAE FA, expressed his happiness to form a partnership with Etihad, stressing that it would serve all sectors of Emirati football, and its positive effects would be significant in the near future. “Etihad’s support for domestic and foreign sport is not new to the airline because its administration believes in the importance of sport and its great role in development, stability and co-existence of people,” Al Dhaheri said.

“The UAE Football Association will do it’s utmost to achieve success and raise the country’s flag at foreign forums,” he added.