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
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs SaleExeter vs Sale Preview
Bath vs WorcesterBath vs Worcester Preview
Wasps vs GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Preview
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Connacht vs MunsterConnacht vs Munster Preview
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Waratahs vs BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Preview
Sharks vs CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Preview
Stormers vs LionsStormers vs Lions Preview
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers2064
4Bath1959
5Harlequins2058