Puma to end Ireland deal early
Rugby:Puma has prematurely cancelled Irish rugby's eight-year kit deal. The German sportswear brand took the decision in December, four seasons into a lucrative multi-million euro contract.
The IRFU confirmed this afternoon that Puma will continue to supply kit to all international teams until the end of the 2013/14 season as part of their exit from all rugby activity across Europe.
Commenting on the news, IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said: “We want to thank Puma for their support over the past number of years, they have been an exemplary sponsor of Irish rugby. The early engagement and manner in which they approached their requirement for an exit to the Irish contract reflects their genuine interest in the well being of Irish rugby.
“With the RWC 2015 in England, the 18 month time scale for the ongoing supply of kit allows us ample time to source a world class kit partner to replace the Puma brand.”
Tony Ward, general manager of Puma in the United Kingdom and Ireland, said: “Puma has very much enjoyed its association with Irish rugby and this decision reflects a broader strategic shift in Puma’s international marketing and product focus. We have felt very much part of the Irish rugby family throughout our association with the IRFU.
"We wish Irish rugby every success in the future and thank the IRFU for their wholehearted support throughout our relationship.”
Several Irish players - including current national captain Jamie Heaslip, Tommy Bowe and Luke Fitzgerald - were on five-figure boot deals, which also ended in 2012.