Cricket Australia has responded within hours after losing their appeal to the ICC disputes committee (see my earlier posting today).
Emirates, the UAE-based airline best known in Australia for sponsoring Collingwood Football Club, will be the official team sponsor for the Australian team for the world cup in the Caribbean in March and April. Emirates, of course, is also the naming rights sponsor of the ICC Elite Umpire Panel and is the "official airline" of the Dubai-based ICC.
Emirates' sponsorship of the Australian team is acceptable to the world cup organisers because (a) no airline is among the official commercial partners of ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 Ltd, and (b) Emirates doesn't fly to the Caribbean.
Travelex, that bitterest of rivals to world cup contractors Visa and Scotiabank, will remain Australia's team sponsor for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy commencing next week - ie, the Travelex Tour of New Zealand.
The following is an extract from a press release issued by Cricket Australia earlier today:
Cricket Australia has appointed its international airline partner, Emirates, as team sponsor for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup following an overnight ruling by an ICC-appointed committee that long-time overseas tour partner, Travelex, is not permitted to sponsor the team due to a conflict with a recently appointed ICC sponsor.
Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland acknowledged Travelex’s support of Australian cricket and, although disappointed with the ICC’s decision, was comforted by the exciting news that Emirates will step up in its already strong association with cricket.
“We are disappointed that the ICC Committee ruled against us. We believe we put forward a very strong case but, unfortunately, the ICC Committee decided otherwise.
“Travelex is one of our longest-standing partners, sponsoring all overseas tours since the 2001 Ashes Series. Throughout this process we have sought to protect their Australian team sponsorship and now look forward to Travelex’s continued support in sponsoring our touring teams until 2010. Though this resolution is not the outcome we were looking for, we respect and understand the ICC’s right and obligation to protect its commercial partnerships,” Sutherland said.
“We’re very pleased to announce that our official international airline partner, Emirates, will take on the role as the team’s sponsor for the ICC Cricket World Cup.
“In a sport that values omens more than most, it’s worth pointing out that that Emirates was also the sponsor of Australia’s victorious 1999 World Cup team, so hopefully its involvement in 2007 will see the same result.”
The Emirates sponsorship of Australia’s World Cup team will see Emirates branding appear on the team uniform and training apparel while in the Caribbean.