Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, has extended its long-standing sponsorship of the men’s Rugby World Cup to cover the next two editions of the tournament in 2023 and 2027.

The renewal will see Emirates continue as a worldwide partner of the 2023 and 2027 Rugby World Cups to be staged in France and Australia, respectively, and extend its official sponsorship of World Rugby match officials until 2027.

Under the deal, referees for the men’s and women’s games will continue to wear Emirates-sponsored kits when officiating test rugby, which they have done since 2013.

Emirates will continue to sponsor ‘Whistle Watch’, a series presented by former international referee Nigel Owens focused on inspiring young referees and making rugby laws more accessible, and will also continue as the official airline of the two flagship tournaments, with its investment into the sport focused on developing rugby in both emerging and established markets.

In addition, as part of the deal, fans will be able to watch both Rugby World Cups live and on-demand during flights.  

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “We are delighted to announce the extension of our long-term and successful collaboration with Emirates for the next two men’s Rugby World Cups and in support of our men’s and women’s match officials’ program.  

“Emirates’ global network and passion for our sport will be key in our efforts to make rugby truly global and their proven excellence in customer experience will be a key asset to take our fan service to the next level.”

Emirates becomes the fourth global partner of World Rugby, joining Capgemini, Macon, and HSBC. It also joins Society Generale, Mastercard, Asahi, Capgemini, and Jaguar Land Rover as worldwide partners for the 2023 World Cup.

Emirates’ relationship with World Rugby started ahead of the 2007 World Cup in France, with the airline having supported all six editions of the men’s tournament since. It has also sponsored the World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai and Cape Town.

Emirates Airline President, Sir Tim Clark, said: “Rugby is a sport with great values and a proud heritage in many countries.

“It is also a sport that’s attracting more participation and interest across communities each year as we are seeing in the UAE where rugby just made it into school programs nationwide. We see rugby as a great platform to bring people together under a shared passion for the sport.”

The 2023 Rugby World Cup, the 10th edition of the tournament, is scheduled to take place in France from September 8 to October 28 in nine venues across the country.