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Visa Becomes Fifth FIFA Sponsor to Renew Through 2022 World Cup

The Maracana Stadium, also known as the Mario Filho Stadium, stands in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The stadium will host the 2014 World Cup final. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg
The Maracana Stadium, also known as the Mario Filho Stadium, stands in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The stadium will host the 2014 World Cup final. Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Soccer governing body FIFA signed a new accord with Visa Inc. through 2022, extending an agreement that started amid controversy in 2007.

The world’s biggest bank-card network is the fifth FIFA partner to commit to both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, following Adidas AG, Coca-Cola Co., Hyundai-Kia and Anheuser-Busch InBev NV. This year’s edition of the quadrennial event will be in Brazil.

“We’re delighted to have such a strong global brand by our side until at least 2022,” FIFA President Sepp Blatter said in an e-mailed statement.

Visa joined FIFA’s roster of sponsors following a dispute between the soccer body and its previous credit card sponsor MasterCard Inc. that was only settled after FIFA agreed to pay $90 million in compensation.

MasterCard had been a FIFA partner for 16 years and argued it was contractually obliged to a first right of renewal. The case hurt FIFA’s reputation with a judge describing its dealings as “anything but fair play” and said its negotiators “lied” to both MasterCard and Visa. Following the verdict FIFA fired its then marketing director Jerome Valcke, who’s since returned as its general secretary, its most senior administrative official.

Visa will be able to use its branding at this year’s World Cup in June and July before the competition moves to Russia in 2018 and Qatar four years later. The World Cup is sport’s most-watched event, bringing FIFA’s roster of sponsors global visibility.

The tournament is responsible for more than 90 percent of FIFA’s income, which last year topped $1.1 billion, including about $350 million from World Cup-related sponsorship.

“With football’s unique power to inspire people everywhere, Visa couldn’t be more excited to extend its relationship with FIFA,” said Ricardo Fort, Visa’s senior vice president of global sponsorship marketing.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in Rio de Janeiro at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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