Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline, today announced a co-operation with The Franz Beckenbauer Foundation and appointed the German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, as the Emirates Global Ambassador for sport and social activities.

Franz Beckenbauer, the only man to have won the World Cup for his country both as player and manager, signed the three-year agreement today (12 January 2004) in the presence of HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates Group.

During his tenure, Beckenbauer will represent Emirates at a range of football and other sporting and social events. He is expected to play in the Pro-Am competition of the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament in March this year, for which Emirates is official airline. The event itself will play host to the world’s top two players, Tiger Woods of the US and South African Ernie Els.

The partnership between Emirates and The Franz Beckenbauer Foundation further demonstrates Emirates’ support for sport and social activities on the world stage. Emirates is an official partner of Germany 2006 FIFA World Cup, and holds a football sponsorship portfolio numbering Chelsea Football Club in the English Premiership and Singapore’s Home United.

Sheikh Ahmed said, ‘I am delighted that Franz has agreed to become our Global Ambassador and am happy to support this important foundation.

As one of the world’s legendary footballers, his international reputation can only enhance the Emirates vision for success both socially through his foundation and for his contribution to sport in general.

‘This new partnership, in addition to our major sponsorships of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Chelsea Football Club and other major properties, will further help us to develop Emirates as a truly global brand as we continue to transform ourselves into a business that stretches across all continents.’

Franz Beckenbauer said: ‘It is a great honour to be appointed as Emirates Global Ambassador and I am delighted that Emirates has agreed to support The Franz Beckenbauer Foundation. Emirates’ aspirations, its passion for quality and its increasing involvement in the global football community make this a truly exciting assignment. I am proud to represent such a fast-developing business and one whose priority is the quality of service it provides to customers.’

Franz Beckenbauer is very grateful that the donation for the next three years is given to the Franz Beckenbauer Foundation, a charity for disabled and under privileged children.