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Sunday October 14, 2012

All Blacks’ fans angered by sponsorship deal

WELLINGTON: All Blacks’ fans have reacted angrily to the New Zealand Rugby Union’s (NZRU) controversial decision to sell commercial space on the front of the world champions’ jersey.

The All Blacks’ official Facebook page has been flooded with comments from passionate New Zea­lan­ders who object to having the name of US insurance giant AIG splashed across the front of the side’s shirt.

Unlike most international sports teams, the All Blacks’ famous black attire has largely been commercial free, apart from the logo of kit supplier adidas and a short-lived deal with a local brewer in the 1990s.

But, NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said the tradition was unsustainable and the AIG deal, which will run until mid 2018, would provide a much need increase in cashflow.

However, his argument did not hold with purists who called the decision a “disgrace” and “disrespectful“.

“One of the things that made the All Blacks so special, put them ahead of every other nation and world number one is the pride in the jersey,” Nathan Hulme posted on Facebook.

“Now the NZRU have ruined that and what it stands for, sold out our pride and passion. Right at the heart of the all black jersey.” — AFP

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