FA Cup
The Football Association have announced a three-year sponsorship deal with Emirates Airlines.Getty Images

The world's oldest domestic football competition is to be officially rebranded as "The Emirates FA Cup" from next season, after a three-year sponsorship deal with the Dubai-based airline was confirmed by the Football Association just hours before the 2015 final.

The agreement, due to run until 2018 and believed to be worth in the region of £30m, marks the end of the search for a new lead sponsor after Budweiser's £9m-per-year contract ended last season.

"Emirates' commitment to our sport is evident and securing such an iconic and forward-thinking lead partner for The FA Cup is great news for us, the fans and for the whole game," FA chairman Greg Dyke said.

"The partnership will help take the tournament to new audiences, inspire interest in football from across the globe and allow us to continue our investment into the game at all levels."

Dyke also spoke positively regarding the impact of such a deal on grassroots football and confirmed it would also help to build all-weather pitches across England.

Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airlines, expressed the company's pride at becoming the FA Cup's first official title sponsor.

"Football is a truly global sport, a unifying factor in many communities and nations across the world," he said.

"Never is this more evident than with The FA Cup, which has an unrivalled heritage and draws a global audience of more than 1.1 billion people. The spirit of competition, fair play, and sparking the passions of a global audience, are all values we share at Emirates.

"That is why we are proud to be the first title sponsor of the tournament and we look forward to a long-term partnership to support and connect fans to their teams both here in the UK and across the world."

2014 winners Arsenal seek to retain the FA Cup for the second time in their history later on 30 May as they face Tim Sherwood's Aston Villa at Wembley.

The Gunners, without Danny Welbeck for the all-Premier League affair after the England striker failed to recover sufficiently from a knee injury, have won the cup on five previous occasions under the management of Arsene Wenger and 11 overall.

Seven-time winners Villa, meanwhile, last lifted the trophy in 1957 and were beaten by Chelsea in their last final appearance 15 years ago.