Press Release | 03 Oct 2022

Vodafone Business announces new partnership with UK Armed Forces Rugby Union

The new sponsorship will enable UKAF Rugby to further expand its portfolio of teams to include Rugby Sevens and Veterans.

  • Vodafone announces new partnership with UK Armed Forces Rugby (UKAF) as Lead Partner.
  • Vodafone will work with UKAF Rugby to support players and enhance performance, helping to place UK Armed Forces at the pinnacle of service rugby.
  • The new sponsorship will enable UKAF Rugby to further expand its portfolio of teams to include Rugby Sevens and Veterans.
  • Vodafone will be front-of-shirt sponsor for the Women’s UKAF tour to Auckland, New Zealand in October for the International Defence Rugby Competition (IDRC).

Vodafone Business has announced a new multi-year partnership with UK Armed Forces Rugby Union  (UKAF) as Lead Partner to all UKAF Rugby teams, Seniors, U23s, Veterans and Rugby 7s. UKAF Rugby Union is a combined team of the best players and support staff from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.

Vodafone will work with UKAF Rugby Union to enhance performance and the playing experience of soldiers, sailors and airmen and women representing all teams. The partnership will deliver improved kit and provide the opportunity for teams to travel to international competitions, helping place UKAF at the pinnacle of Service Rugby.

The new sponsorship will also enable UKAF Rugby to further expand its portfolio of teams to include Men’s & Women’s Rugby Sevens and Veterans.

Thanks to the partnership, UKAF Rugby will be able to continue to enter the International Defence Rugby Competitions (IDRC), a tournament for military rugby teams aligned to the host nation and schedule of the Rugby World Cup for both men and women.

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As part of the new deal, Vodafone will be front-of-shirt sponsor for the upcoming UKAF Women’s Rugby tour to Auckland, New Zealand for the inaugural Women’s International Defence Rugby Competition. The kit from Akuma Sports will be worn for the first time in the team’s opening game against Australian Defence Force on Tuesday 11 October at College Rifles Rugby Grounds, Remuera, Auckland.

Steve Knibbs, Head of Business Security at Vodafone: “As an army veteran myself I am incredibly proud to announce our new front-of-shirt sponsorship of UK Armed Forces Rugby. At Vodafone we have a long heritage of supporting both UK sport and the Armed Forces, so it is great to be able to bring the two together in this new partnership and help them reach their full potential on the world stage.”

Tom Blackburn, Secretary at UKAF Rugby, said: “The support from Vodafone has allowed us to enter this prestigious and historic tournament on the other side of the world. We are really looking forward to wearing the new kit and making history in our attempt to become World Champions.”

Bethan Dainton, UKAF Women’s Rugby and Harlequins Women, said: “Going to the IDRC means so much. UKAF Women’s Rugby has grown from strength to strength over the last few years and we are so excited about the impact Vodafone’s sponsorship will have on the team. I feel honoured and privileged to follow in the footsteps of those who have set the foundation for us to take on this amazing opportunity to make history.”

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The partnership with UKAF Rugby further expands Vodafone’s commitment to support rugby in the UK, building on partnerships with the Welsh Rugby Union as the Founding Principal Partner of women and girls’ rugby in Wales, Official Technology Partner for the Rugby League World Cup 2021, Lead Partner for the British and Irish Lions 2021 Tour of South Africa and Lead Partner of Wasps Rugby and Netball.

In 2018 Vodafone renewed its commitment to the Forces by re-signing the Armed Forces Covenant and continues to support veterans with connectivity though Vodafone’s everyone.connected campaign.

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About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

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