June 9, 2009 / 5:21 PM / 10 years ago

Arsenal sponsor Emirates says happy with top 10 finish

Arsenal's Robin Van Persie celebrates scoring a goal against Stoke City during their Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium in London May 24, 2009. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0) 207 864 9000

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Emirates airline is happy with its Arsenal sponsorship deal as long as the Premier League team finishes in the top 10, the company’s president said.

“We didn’t expect them to win the Champions League or the Premiership,” Tim Clarke told Reuters on Tuesday. “So long as they finish in the top half.”

Arsenal, who signed a 15-year deal worth 100 million pounds with Emirates in October 2004, have not won a trophy since they lifted the FA Cup in 2005.

Their last league title came in 2004 and manager Arsene Wenger’s side finished fourth this season a massive 18 points adrift of champions Manchester United.

The north London club, which reached the Champions League semi-finals this term, will have to qualify for a place in the group stage of next season’s money-spinning competition.

The Emirates deal included shirt sponsorship and naming rights for the stadium which opened in the 2006/07 season.

Asked if the Dubai airline would also consider sponsoring another football team, Clarke said: “Watch this space.”

Airline profits have been hurt by a slump in demand for travel and air freight amidst the financial crisis, but Emirates still plans to expand with $55 billion worth of plane orders.

Writing by Neil Chatterjee, additional reporting by Neil Maidment; Editing by Ken Ferris

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