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MENAFN - AFP - 23/11/2012

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(MENAFN - AFP) Arsenal have agreed a 150 million (239 million, 185 million euros) extension of their shirt sponsorship agreement with Emirates Airlines, the club announced on Friday.

The lucrative new contract, which runs until the end of the 2018-19 season, will be worth 30 million a year to the north London club.

"This agreement is a testimony to Arsenal's approach and to the capabilities we have developed in recent years, as well as the strength of our partnership with Emirates," said chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

"The original deal with Emirates was a key facilitator of our move from Highbury (Arsenal's former stadium) and this next phase of our relationship will be just as critical to keep us at the top of the game in England and Europe."

Under the terms of the deal, the Emirati company will continue to hold naming rights for Arsenal's north London stadium until 2028.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said: "Arsenal's strong appeal around the globe and ambitious approach to the game parallel our own approach to business, making them a valuable partner for our brand."

Gazidis vowed that manager Arsene Wenger will be allowed to use some of the money from the new deal to improve his squad, as Arsenal seek to end a trophy drought that stretches back to 2005.

"The deal is all about football," he said.

"It is all about giving us the resources in what we believe is a responsible and well managed way, to be able to invest in what we put onto the pitch for our fans.

"We have been able to talk to Emirates about the payment terms and bring some of them forwards, so that we will have additional money in this financial year which will be able to invest in the summer.

"Those decisions on investment are made by our manager, and he has done an outstanding job of managing the resources of the club over time, and we expect that to continue, but he will have more resources available."

Gazidis added that Arsenal's projected revenue growth would put them "in the top five clubs in the world".


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