Fiat Auto is now an official sponsor of the European Rugby Cup (ERC), which covers not only the ultra-high profile Heineken Cup, but also the European Challenge Cup and the European Challenge Shield – three top-level sporting events in this year’s rugby season. They will be covered by Sky Italia, Canal +, RTE Sport and Sky TV television channels.
Apart from direct participation in motorsport, Fiat has always supported a wide range of sporting disciplines, such as football, cycling, athletics and skiing. The list also includes canoeing, sailing, golf, horse riding, fencing, and now rugby. In this sense, the agreement just signed with the European Rugby Cup (ERC) is a further demonstration of the company’s all-round commitment to sports played at all levels.
Now coming up to its tenth anniversary in Europe, the Heineken Cup is considered the Champions League of rugby. It gets underway this weekend (22-24 October) with the participation of 24 teams from six countries (France, Italy, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales) for a total of 36 matches, plus two semi-finals and a final. The latter is to be held for the first time in Scotland, at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium, on 22 May 2005.
Among the Italian teams competing will be Benetton Treviso and Ghial Calvisano, respectively in pool 2 and 1. The former team – and current Italian champions – will take on Leinster Lions (Ireland), Bath (England) and, for the second year running, French team Bourgoin-Jailleu. Ghial Calvisano has a tough pool too, lined up against London Wasps – the European and English champions – Biarritz Oympique from France, and in the opening match in the 2005 tournament, Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.
Commenting on Fiat Auto’s new initiative, Massimo Toso, managing director of Fiat Auto UK says: "We are proud to be ERC tournament partners for the next year, and associated with the leading club rugby tournaments in Europe. We are confident this partnership will be of mutual benefit to Fiat and ERC, and we look forward to an exciting season of top class European rugby."Published 23 October 2004