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Longines will take over from Rolex as sponsor of the FEI World Cup jumping series from October 2013.

A long-term sponsorship deal — the biggest ever to be struck with the federation — makes Longines the FEI’s “top partner” and official timekeeper.

“This is the beginning of a new era for our sport and the FEI,” said FEI president Princess Haya.

Longines is owned by Swatch, which was taken over in 1985 by the late Lebanese entrepreneur Nicolas G Hayek.

His son Nick Hayek Jnr is now the chief executive.

An official “signing ceremony” to mark the deal will take place in Lausanne on 15 January.

Rolex was unavailable for comment, but had been the World Cup jumping series sponsor since 2007.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (4 January 2013)