NZ Rugby confirms six-year deal with INEOS

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The All Blacks coffers are being helped by INEOS.

Jeremy Ward

The All Blacks coffers are being helped by INEOS.

New Zealand Rugby has confirmed a six-year deal with British multinational petrochemical company INEOS that will see their name appear on team apparel, including the All Blacks.

The sponsorship starts next year and comes despite criticism by Greenpeace with the environmental agency reaffirming its condemnation on Wednesday.

INEOS now becomes the official performance partner of the All Blacks, Black Ferns, All Blacks Sevens, Black Ferns Sevens, Māori All Blacks, All Blacks XV and All Blacks Under-20s.

Hamish McNeilly / Stuff

All Black Shannon Frizell outside the Dunedin District Court after appearing on charges relating to an alleged bar assault.

The INEOS logo will appear on the back of the playing shorts and on the front of the training jerseys of each of those seven teams from 2022.

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The main logo on the front of the All Blacks jersey remains on the market as the current deal with AIG expires.

There has been speculation the INEOS deal could be worth around $8m to New Zealand Rugby.

The new partnership means the New Zealand sides will join the impressive INEOS stable of sports teams and benefit from a collaboration of ideas.

INEOS has the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, INEOS Grenadiers cycling team; INEOS TEAM UK sailing team, and football clubs OGC Nice and FC Lausanne-Sport as part of its sport performance group.

“To partner with INEOS and be part of such a unique and diverse global sports performance group is an exciting new venture,” NZR CEO Mark Robinson said in announcing the deal on Wednesday.

“We are committed to nurturing the development of rugby over the next six years with INEOS Sport and are looking forward to working alongside some of the best sports teams in the world.

“INEOS will bring an innovative approach and dedication to the partnership with our teams in black, qualities we see across all aspects of their business, particularly around sustainability with their commitment to deliver a zero-carbon emission future in line with the Paris Agreement.”

The Black Ferns will also benefit from the new sponsorship deal.

Kirk Corrie/Getty Images

The Black Ferns will also benefit from the new sponsorship deal.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of INEOS, added: “We’re delighted to partner with the All Blacks. They have consistently shown the grit and determination needed to perform at the highest level of sport and there will be a lot that we can learn from them.”

Greenpeace campaigner Juressa Lee vented her frustrations in a statement on Wednesday, saying: “In the thick of the climate crisis, it’s gutting to see NZ Rugby sign a sponsorship deal with an oil and gas polluting conglomerate like INEOS that is responsible for driving us deeper into the climate crisis, and fouling the oceans with plastic pollution.

“Just in the past weeks we’ve seen deadly flooding and fires driven by climate change and it’s just a taste of what the climate crisis has in store, especially for our coastal Māori and Pacific communities.

“Many of our rugby players are of Maori and Pacific descent, and come from communities which are on the frontline of sea level rise and extreme storm events. They shouldn’t be expected to wear the brand of a climate polluter like INEOS.

“As a Māori and Pasifika person myself, I feel let down. New Zealand Rugby have presented us with an ugly dilemma.

“Our island nations are on the front line of rising sea levels and extreme weather, and we want action on climate, but we also want to see our people living their dreams donning the black jersey. But now they will carry the INEOS brand, and INEOS is one of the world’s worst oil and plastic polluters.

“I think most New Zealanders will be very disappointed that NZ Rugby has chosen to soil the silver fern with the likes of INEOS.”