The Fiji Rugby Union has signed a merchandising and licensing agreement in an attempt to boost revenues and capitalise on the country's Olympic sevens success.
FRU CEO John O'Connor signed the agreement with Velocity Brand Management, an Australian based company that specialises in licensing global retail outlets to manufacture and provide merchandising for sale.
VBM also represents the All Blacks, National Rugby League, The British & Irish Lions, Football Federation Australia, Cricket Australia, England and Wales Cricket Board, The International Cricket Council, Tennis Australia and the Australian Open.
John O'Connor said this was the first time FRU had engaged a specialist firm to manage this portfolio and for too long unscrupulous businesses and individuals have taken advantage of the their brand without proper licensing and paying any royalty to FRU.
Currently official FRU branded kits and clothing and are only available from local markets.
Mr O'Connor said VBM will be able to negotiate the licensing of major and other retail outlets globally to manufacture all ranges of FRU merchandise and offer it for sale from their outlets or franchise.
"Partnering with VBM will set a framework to ensure that the FRU will be able to license businesses which can then sell all types of FRU merchandise including Team Kits. VBM will also assist FRU in managing its Kit and Footwear sponsors," he said.
VBM Managing Director James Ashworth said VBM were very fortunate to partner with the FRU and that there is a great opportunity for the Union to increase its income through licensing and merchandising in view of the success of the Fiji 7s and Flying Fijian teams.
VBM is also looking at signing partners to manufacture and sell FRU merchandise in the UK, NZ, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, France, Canada, USA and domestically.