Arsenal confirms no restriction on Israel in Emirates deal

Arsenal's Emirates Stadium (Photo: Singa94)

Arsenal's Emirates Stadium (Photo: Singa94)

Arsenal Football Club has confirmed that its sponsorship deal with the Emirates airline does not contain a clause which would discriminate against Israel.

Emirates has exclusive naming rights to the Premier League club’s stadium in north London.

A row earlier this week over the airline’s similar sponsorship of a Transport for London cable car system in the capital had threatened to engulf other companies which have deals with Emirates.

London Mayor Boris Johnson was forced to intervene and requested the removal of a clause in the sponsorship deal which it was thought could have been used to stop TfL entering financial arrangements with Israeli companies or banks.

A section of the TfL contract made reference to “conflicting persons”, described as any “competitor” of Emirates or “any person or national” of a country with which the UAE does not maintain diplomatic relations. The UAE has no diplomatic links with Israel.

Arsenal said on Wednesday it could not comment on its own deal with Emirates.

But on Friday morning the club moved to reassure supporters that its arrangements would not discriminate against Israelis.

An Arsenal spokesman said: “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.”

In March, the Emirates Stadium hosted a student fair which included representatives from all of Israel's leading universities. They promoted the country as a possible location for students looking to take academic courses abroad.

Arsenal matches have also featured pitch-side advertising promoting flights to Israel and holidays in the country.

London Assembly members Andrew Dismore wrote to the chief executives of a dozen companies which have arrangements with the UAE firm, asking whether the deals include similar clauses.

Last updated: 10:43am, July 19 2013