Final Whistle Blows on FIFA Sponsorship Row

29 June 2007

ZURICH: Soccer's world governing body FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) confirmed it has awarded sponsorship of its next two money-spinning World Cup events to Visa International.

The $170 million (€126m; £84.9m) deal follows FIFA's $90m settlement of its acrimonious legal dispute with previous sponsor and Visa's arch-rival, MasterCard.

The latter began court action last year when FIFA negotiated with Visa to sponsor the 2010 and 2014 events.

MasterCard cried foul, believing it had first refusal of any deal for the world's most watched sports event, with which it had been teamed for 16 years.

The fall-out from the botched negotiations resulted in the firing of FIFA's television and marketing director Jerome Valcke [WARC News: 14-Dec-06], but he too is now declared a winner with his appointment to the role of general secretary of the organisation, second only to president Sepp Blatter.

In a remarkable rehabilitation exercise, FIFA declared Valcke had been "totally vindicated" by the sponsorship agreement. An initial court hearing had been told he and a trio of colleagues "lied repeatedly" during the negotiations.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff