Emirates has confirmed that it is in talks with the English Football Association to sponsor the FA Cup.
“Emirates can confirm discussions with the English Football Association (FA) regarding a sponsorship partnership is underway,” an Emirates spokesperson said.
“Once an agreement has been reached, we will be in a position to share more information.”
While no deal has been signed yet, it is understood that next season’s competition will be named the Emirates FA Cup.
It has been reported that the deal is expected to be worth £10 million (Dh56.5m) a year and would run for three years.
European football has been fertile ground for Middle East investors, with 20 of Europe’s top clubs now sponsored in some way by Arabian Gulf airlines.
Emirates already sponsors Arsenal in the English Premier League, plus AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A, Real Madrid in Spain’s La Liga and Paris St Germain in France’s Ligue 1.
Research from the consultancy Repucom showed that the UAE was the single biggest investor in shirt sponsorship in Europe between 2005 and now.
Emirates, the Dubai-based carrier, told The National last month that each of its sponsorships is considered on the basis of four main criteria: “It must be a sport or an event which reflects the quality of Emirates; the event must be relevant to an Emirates destination; the event must have guaranteed television coverage and there must be a measurable return on the investment,” an airline spokesman said.
It recently decided against renewing its sponsorship of Fifa after the governing body’s contract proposal “did not meet Emirates’ expectations”.
The FA Cup has previously been sponsored by Littlewoods, Axa, E.ON, and Budweiser. It is the oldest association football competition in the world, having been founded in 1871.
Arsenal lifted the trophy in 2014, and they will be finalists again this year when they face Aston Villa on May 30 at Wembley.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter