Man-U signs deal with Russian airline

State-controlled airline Aeroflot became the latest sponsor to join Manchester United.

FILE: Manchester United. Picture: AFP

MANCHESTER - State-controlled airline Aeroflot joined Manchester United's growing list of global sponsors on Monday, the first Russian company to partner with the English soccer champions.

Aeroflot is a sponsor of the Sochi 2014 Olympics and replaces Turkish Airlines as United's partner in a five-year deal unveiled at the club's Old Trafford stadium.

"It's a significant step for our first global partnership to be with one of the most successful and well-loved football clubs in the world," Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Saveliev said.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

United claims to have 659 million followers worldwide and is carving out a lucrative series of global and local sponsorship deals.

Although United and Aeroflot may sound an unlikely combination, there is already heavy Russian investment in European soccer through owners including Roman Abramovich at Chelsea and sponsors such as Gazprom.

Airlines also enjoy the global exposure provided by Premier League teams.

Etihad is the main sponsor of United's local rival Manchester City, while Emirates is partnered with Arsenal.

General Motors last year agreed to take over as United's main shirt sponsor from 2014 in a seven-year deal worth $559 million.