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Vodafone set to oust Three as IRFU’s main sponsor – report

Telecommunications company Vodafone is set to replace rival Three as the main sponsor of the Irish Rugby Football Union, according to The Herald.

The Irish newspaper said Vodafone has agreed terms on a 10-year deal worth almost €50m ($55.9m), with its logo set to feature on the front of the Irish national team’s shirts.

The new deal will reportedly come into effect after next year's Six Nations championship, meaning Three will still be Ireland’s sponsor for the upcoming World Cup tournament.

The agreement with Vodafone will see the IRFU continue its association with telecommunications firms. O2 Ireland was previously the main sponsor of the IRFU, initially striking a deal in 2006.

The two organisations renewed their partnership in 2011 for another five-year period before O2 Ireland’s parent company was acquired by Three’s parent, Hutchison Whampoa, in June 2013. Three took over as official sponsor of the IRFU in the middle of last year.

Its current agreement is said to be worth €2.65m per year to the IRFU, with The Herald stating that Three was unprepared to match the offer made by Vodafone.