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FRU seals $40m deal

Rashneel Kumar
Friday, February 07, 2014

THE Fiji Rugby Union has secured a major $40million sponsorship deal in cash and kind in a bid to address its financial viability issues

The union yesterday announced the five-year deal with the Vodafone Fiji-led consortium which included Fiji Airways, CJ Patel Fiji Limited, Home Finance Company, Fiji Telecom Limited and Fijian Holdings Limited.

The $8m per year deal includes "about $3.6m in cash".

FRU chairman Filimone Waqabaca said they were still negotiating the cash component of the sponsorship which was "likely to move upwards".

He also said the deal had a re-negotiation clause after the first three years.

Apart from the consortium, Waqabaca said other companies were negotiating with FRU to add to the existing $8m per year deal.

However, he confirmed the union was getting the sponsorship of its entire product range from the Vodafone Fiji-led consortium.

FRU has 12 products; Five national teams and seven national tournaments.

"The clause in the contract is because of the major events that are before us where we have the World Cup in 15s and then in the Olympic Games where 7s will be featured for the first time," Waqabaca said.

"These two major events fall within the three-year term. If our teams do well then definitely the value of those products increase.

"We do not want to be locked in a situation where we do not maximise on that particular event.

"Through this deal, we still have the opportunity to go back after a three-year period to renegotiate the deal with a possibility of extension for another two years."

Waqabaca said they were working towards getting the true value of the Fiji rugby products.

FRU acting CEO Doctor Berlin Kafoa said they had let go of the "first right of refusal" clause to allow the union to negotiate with other parties after the conclusion of this new deal.

In light of the this latest development, Vodafone has secured the naming rights of the Fiji 7s and the Flying Fijians teams.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Airways logo will feature on the Fiji 7s jersey in the Wellington, Gold Coast and Hong Kong 7s while the rest of the companies will sponsor the remaining Fiji rugby products, which will be announced later.

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