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Wednesday, 26 July, 2000, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
New sponsors for Premiership
Dean Richards and Martin Johnson
Leicester to play under new sponsors
New sponsors have been found for the Rugby Union Premiership as Zurich Financial Services take over from Allied Dunbar.

The announcement had been widely expected after the original contract with Allied Dunbar expired at the end of last season.

It is believed the Swiss organisation - parent company of Allied Dunbar - will pay 15m over the next three years to support the competition which will now be known as the Zurich Championship.

The league season will kick off on 19 August, reaching its climax on 14 April 14, to be followed by the Zurich Grand Final on 12 May.

Our supporters are in for a treat of fast and exciting rugby this season
  Nigel Wray, ERP chairman

The English Rugby Partnership chairman Nigel Wray has said he is looking forward to the development of the game.

"This is a significant commitment by Zurich and is recognition of the value that they put on English domestic rugby, arguably the most competitive and skilful domestic club league in Europe," he said.

"Our supporters are in for a treat of fast and exciting rugby this season."

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