The UAE national netball team and its youth sides will be sponsored by Emirates after a deal was signed between the Dubai-based carrier and the newly formed UAE Netball Association.
The agreement will see the UAE Under-17, and Open National Netball teams play in kits adorned with the Emirates logo, while their training kits will also be sponsored by the airline.
Emirates confirmed they would provide travel support for teams competing overseas, too.
Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, divisional senior vice president Commercial Operations for Emirates said: “Emirates is honoured to support the UAE U17 and Open National Netball team who will represent the best in this sport and represent our country on the international stage. This sponsorship underscores our commitment to the team’s success, along with a broader commitment to developing and growing a wide spectrum of sports in the UAE that provide youth a platform to thrive.”
Dr Omar Shams, chairman of the UAE Netball Association (UAENA), said: “The UAE Netball Association is proud to be sponsored by Emirates Airline. Our union will bring tremendous opportunity to many women in sport. With this support we will be able to introduce a dynamic sport into the local community and hopefully elevate the level of netball within the UAE to international standards. The support we have been shown by Emirates Airline and the International Netball Federation has truly been tremendous.”
Susanne Skelding, National Squads manager, said: “The UAE National Netball squads are extremely excited to be able to play under the global giant Emirates Airline. Obtaining sponsorship of this calibre is a major breakthrough for netball and for women in sport in the UAE. It also consolidates the UAE’s position as a key sporting destination and we hope that this is just the start of an incredible journey for netball with Emirates Airline.”
Netball is one of the largest female participation sports with 20 million people playing in more than 80 countries, and a growing fan and participant base. The sport has been increasing in popularity in the UAE, both at school and in amateur league levels, with over 1,000 people here playing every week.
The sponsorship marks the latest effort by Emirates to support the development of the game at the grassroots level in the UAE among both Emirati and expat youth. Under the newly formed UAE Netball Association (UAENA), an Emiratisation programme is also being introduced to grow the sport across the UAE with the aim of increasing the number of Emirati females participating in this sport to represent their country on an international level in the future.
The UAE Netball Association (UAENA) is an official member of Netball Europe, which provides UAE players a permanent place against international competition, playing against the best in Europe, including England, Ireland and Scotland.