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Credit card sponsorship of World Cup put on hold

Summary

World Cup sponsorship in question as MasterCard and Visa battle FIFA.

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Credit card giant MasterCard has been forced to sit tight ahead of a possible sponsorship of the World Cup soccer tournament.

That delay comes after a judge overseeing the legal battle between MasterCard and international soccer association FIFA issued a stay on her previous ruling in December 2006 that forced FIFA to award the desired sponsorship to the publicly traded credit card company.

But under the latest ruling, FIFA does not have to immediately follow a court order from early December that required FIFA to grant an eight-year World Cup sponsorship deal to MasterCard.  U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska wrote in an order handed down on Dec. 21, 2006, that the stay would remain in place until the resolution of an appeal by the soccer organization.

FIFA had asked that the lodged appeal be granted a suspensive effect so neither MasterCard nor rival Visa could demand the sponsorship contract during the appeal procedure.

Earlier in 2006, MasterCard sued FIFA following the soccer organization’s decision to award the World Cup sponsorship to Visa.  MasterCard, the World Cup sponsor for 16 years, charged that it had right of first refusal for the new contract, which starts in January 2007 and extends through the end of 2014.

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