Arsenal Football Club today reassured the Jewish community that its £150million sponsorship deal with Emirates’ does not exclude commercial involvement with individuals and companies associated with Israel.
The clarification from the North London club comes after London Mayor Boris Johnson was this week forced to backtrack on a controversial ‘anti-Israel’ sponsorship deal with Emirates airline, after huge pressure following the publication of a “discriminatory” cable car contract signed in 2011.
The Mayor’s office maintained that Johnson had been “unaware of the clause in question,” which bars commercial involvement with countries with whom the UAE has not diplomatic relations.
After hastily-arranged meetings between Town Hall officials and the airline, Johnson’s spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that Emirates had “agreed to remove the clause and re-work the wording”.
A spokesperson for Arsenal told the Jewish News: “As we said previously, we don’t publicly discuss our contracts. However, as publicly stated by our partner we can confirm our contract does not restrict us in the manner described.”
Emirates’ sponsorship of Arsenal Football Club is the airline’s most well-known sporting association in London, with the Dubai-based firm beginning its relationship with the North London club almost a decade ago, signing a stadium sponsorship deal in 2004 and a shirt sponsorship deal in 2006.
In November last year, both the club and the airline agreed to extend their relationship until 2028, in a deal worth £150 million.
Details of the £36 million contract between TfL and Emirates followed this week’s publication of the 2011 Thames Cable Car contract, which was only revealed after a Freedom of Information request.
TfL had initially tried to downplay the concerns, saying it was “standard” for a sponsor to expect that it would not sell the cable car to someone whose interests contradict those of Emirates.
Emirates airline refused to comment.