Visa to sponsor FIFA and World Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Visa and FIFA will sign a sponsorship agreement on Thursday worth an estimated $150 million-$200 million.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:39 IST
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Visa and FIFA will sign a sponsorship agreement on Thursday worth an estimated $150 million-$200 million. Visa will be introduced as FIFA's new financial services partner at a news conference at the soccer body's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. Visa CEO Christopher Rodrigues and FIFA president Sepp Blatter are expected to make the announcement. The deal was confirmed on Wednesday by officials close to the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement hadn't yet been officially announced. FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren said he was unable to confirm the deal. Visa will become the fifth company to join FIFA's top tier of sponsors for the 2007-14 period, joining Coca-Cola, Adidas, Sony and Hyundai. A sixth sponsor is expected to be announced at a later date. The deal will make Visa the official credit card at all of FIFA's major competitions, including the World Cup, and give the company exclusive advertising rights. Visa is also a global sponsor of the Olympic Games and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Credit card rival MasterCard was a sponsor at the last three World Cup tournaments, and will again be a sponsor at this year's tournament in Germany. In November, Coca-Cola and FIFA extended their partnership in a deal that was said to be worth about US$500 million and run through 2022 - making the American beverage company the only sponsor to commit to FIFA for that long. Other FIFA sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, Avaya, Continental, Deutsche Telekom, Emirates, Fujifilm, Gillette, McDonald's, Philips, Toshiba and Yahoo. The next World Cup will be played in South Africa in 2010, with the 2014 championship expected to be held in Brazil. (AP)

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