Royal boost for English rugby
London - Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) will become the main banker to the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) under a five-year deal announced on Monday.
RBS will also increase its investment in an existing scheme to help local rugby clubs improve facilities such as club houses, the RFU said.
RBS, in which the state has a stake of more than 80 percent following the credit crunch, also sponsors the Scottish Rugby Union and the annual Six Nations international tournament. The company's headquarters are in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital.
The RFU is stepping up commercial activities in the run-up to the 2015 World Cup which will be hosted by England. Rugby will also get a boost to its profile when the seven-a-side format features in the Olympics for the first time in 2016.
"It is the first official RFU banking partnership with a commitment to grassroots investment, financial service provision, and additional benefits, said Sophie Goldschmidt, the RFU's Chief Commercial Officer.
"The extension of this important relationship reinforces our commercial strategy to have fewer, more integrated and impactful partnerships," she added.
The RFU was previously a customer with British bank Barclays , an RFU spokeswoman said.