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
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821