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Tune Group Becomes Principal Partner for Professional Game Match Officials

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The Malaysian-based Tune Group has signed a deal to become the new Principal Partner for Professional Games Match Officials (PGMO) for three seasons beginning from 2010/11.

PGMO is the body responsible for providing and managing all professional match officials in English football and works with all three major English governing bodies - the Premier League, The FA and the Football League - to provide match officials for their competitions: the Barclays Premier League, The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON, the npower Championship and Football League, the Carling Cup, The FA Community Shield sponsored by McDonalds, and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Tune Air, a member of the Tune Group, is the single major shareholder of PGMO’s previous Principal Partner, AirAsia. Tune Group is also responsible for a number of other major brands including: AirAsia X, Tune Hotels and Tune Talk, as well as sports ventures in Formula 1 team Lotus Racing and the ASEAN Basketball League.

Tune Group was founded by AirAsia co-founder Dato’ Sri Dr Tony Fernandes.

The partnership gives Tune Group access to 2,000 professional football matches, with an estimated cumulative global TV audience in excess of three billion. The partnership delivers a range of designation and promotional rights, including shirt sleeve and training wear branding on all professional match referees, assistant referees and fourth officials, branding and accreditation on all publicity material, the PGMO and all governing body websites, as well as PGMO and refereeing inventory that offers extensive PR opportunities.

“We are very pleased to be working with Tune Group and are of course very familiar with them already thanks to our previous successful partnership with AirAsia. Their investment resulted in significant investment in the training and development of officials at all levels of the game,” said Mike Riley, general manager of PGMO. “Over the last year that has diversely manifested itself in a 7% increase in referee recruitment at grassroots level through to Howard Webb becoming the first referee to officiate the UEFA Champions League and World Cup Final in the same season. I’m very positive that our new relationship with Tune Group will further help the development of refereeing in this country and throughout the world.”

Tune Hotels Group CEO, Mark Lankester said, “We have seen how AirAsia and AirAsia X benefited from this sponsorship before by establishing its brand in such a mature, competitive market as the UK, and with Tune Hotels opening its first London property later this month, this sponsorship by Tune Group could not be more timely. Communicating to EPL’s three billion viewers globally presents the Tune Group of Companies a powerful global branding tool for us in enhancing our brand awareness, not only facilitating our regional expansions but most importantly connecting with our customers.”

“Tune Hotels is specifically planning on 15 hotels in Greater London amongst its significant expansion plans in the Asia Pacific and India, while Tune Talk likewise has aggressive expansion plans in Southeast Asia to democratise mobile telecommunications and needless to say, all other Tune Group companies have significant plans outside of their traditional home markets and engaging in challenging the norms. This association by Tune Group with EPL and PGMO will translate firmly into a direct boost to our brand and positioning,” added Lankester.

Formed in 2001 to improve refereeing standards, the PGMO group officiate across all the Premier League, Football League and FA Competitions. Former PGMO referee Mike Riley was recently appointed its General Manager and his team of managers and coaches are responsible for the training, development and mentoring of 77 referees and 225 assistant referees.

The most high profile officials are the 16 full-time professional PGMO Select Group Referees. The Select Group Referees are continually monitored at games and attend fortnightly training days where their performance, technique and fitness is monitored.

They are supported by a team of full-time sports scientists who deliver a tailored fitness and nutrition programme, sprint coaches who improve running techniques, sports psychologists, podiatrists and vision scientists who measure reaction times and peripheral vision and work with each official to improve their viewing angles and help them anticipate moving into the right area for the best view of the match action.

PGMO also plays an active role in developing refereeing standards across the world of football. Currently PGMO has a knowledge transfer programme that benefits entire confederations, such as the Asian Football Confederation who have a future referees project supported by PGMO, as well as individual football associations in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, who work in partnership with PGMO to improve the performance of their own officials.

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