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Swiss panel could influence World Cup dispute

A federal appeals court stated on May 2, 2007, that the contract dispute between MasterCard and Visa over sponsorship of the next two World Cups could be decided or at least influenced by a Swiss arbitration panel.

While the three-judge panel of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reserved ruling on the case until after oral arguments are heard, two of the judges said the Swiss arbitration panel may be entitled to decide certain aspects of the disagreement.

Earlier, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska had blocked the Swiss arbitration panel from immediately hearing the case following her award of the next two World Cup soccer tournament sponsorships to MasterCard.

Switzerland-based FIFA, soccer’s governing body, had filed a lawsuit with the arbitration panel requesting that it consider the dispute.

On May 2, a lawyer for FIFA informed the appeals panel that contracts between MasterCard and FIFA give FIFA the right to arbitrate its disputes instead of leaving the decision up to the courts.

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