By Duncan Mackay

Longines equestrianDecember 27 - Swiss watchmakers Longines have become the first top partner of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) following the agreement of an historic long-term sponsorship deal.

Under the new agreement - which marks the biggest sponsorship deal ever brokered by the organisation - Longines becomes the official top partner, official timekeeper and official watch of the FEI.

Longines, who association with equestrian sports dates back to 1926, will take on a number of key FEI events, including the title sponsorship of the FEI World Cup Jumping before the start of the new season in October 2013.

The series is currently sponsored by Rolex, a major rival of Longines. 

An official signing ceremony is due to take place in Lausanne on January 15 featuring FEI President,Princess Haya, and Nayla Hayek, chair of the Swatch Group Board of Directors.

Full details of the agreement will be unveiled as part of the signing ceremony.

"I am totally thrilled to welcome Longines as the FEI's first Top Partner," said Princess Haya.

"This is the beginning of a new era for our sport and the FEI.

"Longines has always had a huge presence in our community and our new partnership is a true celebration of our shared passion.

"This is an immense moment for the FEI.

"This long-term partnership with Longines will completely revolutionise the way we are able to produce our sport across all of our disciplines."

Princess Haya at microphoneFEI President Princess Haya has hailed the new deal with FEI as an "immense moment"

Longines is involved in a number of sports, including gymnastics, archery, alpine skiing, equestrian sports and at the French Open at Roland-Garros.

Also, in June, Longines signed to become the first Tier One partner of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

"We are delighted to have concluded this strategic and historic partnership with the FEI," said Hayek. 

"It reinforces the traditional and long-lasting commitment of Longines in equestrian sports and makes the brand a major player in this field.

"We are looking forward to being involved in the great events organised by the FEI. This multi-faceted partnership also provides us with a great platform to strengthen the Longines brand presence worldwide."

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