Credit card colossus Visa has received a red card from soccer’s governing body FIFA over unauthorised use of the latter’s World Cup trademark.

Although not an official sponsor of this year’s tournament, Visa ran a promotion on its Brazilian website using the World Cup logo and refused to take it down when the football authority complained.

FIFA has therefore launched legal action against the card firm – news of which prompted the rapid removal of the offending promotion from the website.

The football body is highly sensitive to attempts by companies to cash in on its flagship tournament without becoming official sponsors, branding such firms “parasites” earlier this year. Visa’s rival Mastercard is one of the many multinational businesses that paid around £20 million ($31m; €32m) each to be associated with the recent World Cup in Japan and Korea.

“There are always a few rogue players that refuse to play by the rules and, in those cases, FIFA will do all it can to ensure they do,” warned Patrick Magyar, chief executive of the body’s marketing arm.

“Non-sponsors should stick to marketing programmes that don’t violate FIFA's rights. If not it will lead to wasted investment in illegal promotions, not to mention court costs.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff