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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 May 2007, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
Mastercard World Cup deal wobbles
Zinedine Zidane takes a penalty in the 2006 World Cup final
The football World Cup is a heady mix of sport, emotion and business
Mastercard's sponsorship of the football World Cup has been brought into question after a US court ruling.

The credit card firm has been a key sponsor of the World Cup, backing it for 16 years, and winning the rights for the 2010 and 2014 tournaments.

However, football's governing body Fifa also has an agreement with rival card firm Visa, and a US judge must now rule on which deal is binding.

The World Cup is one of the most watched sporting events.

Huge reach

For companies such as Mastercard and Visa, the World Cup is an excellent opportunity to reach their target audience and promote their business.

Last year, US District Judge Loretta Preska ruled that Mastercard and not Visa should win an eight-year contract to sponsor the World Cup.

Fifa appealed against the decision and a court has now ruled that Judge Preska needs to revisit her decision and clarify a number of points, including whether a 2006 contract between Fifa and Mastercard superseded one from 2002.

Mastercard said it was looking forward to the judge's ruling, while Visa said it was following the case with interest.

The 2010 World Cup will be hosted by South Africa, while the venue for the 2014 tournament still has to be decided.

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