Planet Rugby

ABs fans angered by jersey logo

13th October 2012 13:52

Share:

Liam Messam All Blacks AIG jersey 2012

Controversial choice: New sponsor's logo

All Blacks fans have reacted angrily to the New Zealand Rugby Union's controversial decision to sell commercial space on the front of the world champions' jersey.

The All Blacks' official Facebook page has been flooded with comments from passionate New Zealanders who object to having the name of US insurance giant AIG splashed across the front of the side's shirt.

Unlike most international sports teams, the All Blacks' famous black attire has largely been commercial free, apart from the logo of kit supplier adidas and a short-lived deal with a local brewer in the 1990s.

But, NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said the tradition was unsustainable and the AIG deal, which will run until mid 2018, would provide a much need increase in cashflow.

However, his argument did not hold with purists who called the decision a "disgrace" and "disrespectful".

"One of the things that made the All Blacks so special, put them ahead of every other nation and world number one is the pride in the jersey," Nathan Hulme posted on Facebook.

"Now the NZRU have ruined that and what it stands for, sold out our pride and passion. Right at the heart of the all black jersey."

Peter Armitage added: "Steve Tew hang your head, you are a disgrace to the greatest team the world has ever seen."

Nico de Jong acknowledged the NZRU need to attract funds but not at the expense of the black jersey.

"It is part of our kiwi heritage, and by placing a company name on the front I think is completely disrespectful, especially considering it is a foreign company," he wrote.

Other critics targeted the choice of sponsor given that AIG required a $182 billion bailout from the US government at the height of the global financial crisis.

"It is so disappointing to see the NZRU choose such an unworthy company to partner with and even worse, give ownership of the black jersey by splashing their tainted brand over where the heart once beat," wrote Kano Wins.

John Copestake said: "You have ruined all the history and class of the black jersey by staining it with AIG on the chest. NZRU you make me sick."

Even players objected to the original proposal, forcing a reduction in the size of the logo and the removal of a white box around it.

"When we saw the size of it and the box we thought it was too big for the jersey," hooker Keven Mealamu revealed.

"So it's nice that they were respectful and able to take the box off and keep it to the size it is now."

But Tew made it clear there was no room for any further compromise.

"We respect people who decide that it's not a good idea, but we're the ones in charge of the legacy at the moment and we'll make the decisions we need to make," he said.

He added it cost about NZ$100 million ($82 million) to run rugby in New Zealand and significantly more cash was needed for the sport to survive and grow.

"It's a challenge for us, and we need some money."

The All Blacks will wear the new jersey for the first time when they play Australia in Brisbane on October 20.

Rugby Union betting odds

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Waratahs vs Brumbies19:40
Crusaders vs Sharks19:35
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
South Africa 31 - 30 WalesSouth Africa vs Wales Report
New Zealand 36 - 13 EnglandNew Zealand vs England Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00