Arsenal has signed a partnership agreement with National Geographic to “highlight the tourism opportunities that our official partner, Visit Rwanda, has to offer.”

Male mountain Gorillas, members of the Agashya family, are pictured in the Sabyinyo Mountains of Rwanda on December 27, 2014. Rwanda, well known for mountain gorillas an endangered species found only in the border areas between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and hosted more than a million visitors between 2006-13, generating from the national parks alone $75m (£44m) in tourism revenue in that time; 85% of this is from trekkers who come to see some of the country's 500 gorillas. AFP PHOTO/Ivan LIEMAN
Male mountain Gorillas, members of the Agashya family, are pictured in the Sabyinyo Mountains of Rwanda on December 27, 2014. Rwanda, well known for mountain gorillas an endangered species found only in the border areas between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and hosted more than a million visitors between 2006-13, generating from the national parks alone $75m (£44m) in tourism revenue in that time; 85% of this is from trekkers who come to see some of the country’s 500 gorillas. AFP PHOTO/Ivan LIEMAN

The deal will run until 2021 and has already seen photographer Charlie Hamilton James and travel writer Heather Greenwood Davis visit the country to ‘create stories and capture pictures for the campaign’.

“We are extremely excited to work with National Geographic Partners to showcase the unique opportunities that Rwanda has to offer,” Arsenal’s commercial director Peter Silverstone said.

“For over 130 years, National Geographic has been inspiring millions of people all over the world through groundbreaking storytelling from the best and brightest scientists, explorers and photographers. This new partnership will provide the perfect platform to share Rwanda’s story, and the incredible experiences the country offers.”

Chief tourism officer of the Rwanda Development Board, Belise Kariza, added: “Rwanda is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and we are excited about sharing our story and rich natural heritage with the global National Geographic community.

“The Visit Rwanda partnership with Arsenal Football Club and the creation of this new platform will inspire more travellers and adventurers to look to Rwanda as their top travel destination. We look forward to welcoming them.”

Since signing a sleeve sponsorship deal with Visit Rwanda that caused a lot of controversy, the club have also agreed a deal with a beer company in the country.

Arsenal have also sent dignitaries to take part in the annual gorilla-naming ceremony and coaches to run coaching clinics. 

mountain gorilla baby
This photo taken on June 17, 2012, shows a young member of the Agashya family of mountain Gorillas frolicking in dense undergrowth at the Virunga National park in Rwanda. For ten years the number of mountain gorillas has shown a steady growth in the Virungas mountains, which is shared by Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The large primates in the national park now number about 480 individuals, out of a world population of 790. This trend, achieved despite chronic armed conflict across the D.R. Congo border that adjoins the gorilla habitat, is essentially the result of sustained fight against poaching, say the Rwandan authorities. AFP PHOTO / AUDE GENET

Leaving aside the benefits to Rwanda, real or perceived, that come from the deal, there has been a lot of talk about Arsenal’s sleeve sponsorship deal with the country yet the moral outrage from some journalists that greeted news of the arrangement has been conspicuously lacking in relation to deals with the likes of Emirates, Etihad, or Roman Abramovich.

Even Stan Kroenke receives little-to-no criticism for his business dealings despite how hated he is in parts of America.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.