Credit card sponsorship for World Cup decided

MasterCard and world soccer governing body FIFA have agreed to settle a court battle regarding MasterCard's right to sponsor the World Cup soccer tournament.

Compare Low Interest Credit CardsUnder the terms of the agreement, credit card giant MasterCard will drop a lawsuit against FIFA in exchange for a $90 million settlement. FIFA will pay MasterCard $87.5 million in the second quarter and $2.5 million in the third quarter, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

MasterCard will also discontinue its sponsorship of the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, with both parties additionally ending legal proceedings in the U.S. and Switzerland.

The resolution allows FIFA to move ahead with a sponsorship deal involving Visa, MasterCard's chief rival. The World Cup is the globe's most-watched sporting event, and similar sponsorships are highly desired as a method for credit card companies to reach new customers.

MasterCard, which sponsored the tournament since 1990, had sued the soccer body in April 2006 after FIFA awarded the coveted sponsorship of the next two World Cups to Visa. MasterCard stated that it had right of first refusal on upcoming sponsorships of the tournament.

In December 2006, a U.S. district judge ruled that FIFA did not honor agreements when it awarded sponsorship rights to Visa. However, an appeals court subsequently ordered a review of that ruling.

Meanwhile, Zurich-based FIFA wanted a Swiss arbitration panel to make a decision on the matter.

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Updated: 03-26-2019