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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2007, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
World Cup sponsorship row settled
The Italian team after winning the 2006 World Cup
The Mastercard sponsorship deal was worth about $180m
Fifa, football's world governing body, has agreed to pay Mastercard $90m (45m) to settle a bitter dispute about sponsorship of the World Cup.

The credit card firm has sponsored each World Cup since 1990 and believed it had first refusal to extend the deal to cover the 2010 and 2014 tournaments.

It took legal action against Fifa after the organisation struck what it argued was a conflicting deal with rival Visa.

The settlement will see Mastercard withdraw as a future World Cup sponsor.

'Business decision'

It will also bring to an end all outstanding legal proceedings in the US, where Mastercard is based, and Switzerland, where Fifa has its headquarters.

Last year a US judge found against Fifa over the dispute, which dated back to the terms of a contract it signed with Mastercard in 2002.

She ordered Fifa to retain Mastercard as a sponsor between 2007 and 2014, stating that the World Cup agreement was "priceless".

We believed the best interests of shareholders and customers was to be served by severing the relationship
Larry Flanagan, Mastercard

Fifa appealed against the legal verdict, arguing that it had acted in "good faith" throughout.

A ruling last month ordered the judge to re-examine the original decision, but Fifa was still unable to proceed with the Visa deal after Mastercard successfully obtained an injunction.

Mastercard said Fifa's behaviour during contract negotiations had done "irreparable damage" to their working relationship and to levels of trust between the two organisations.

"It was a business decision," said Larry Flanagan, Mastercard's global chief marketing officer, of the financial settlement.

"We believed the best interest of shareholders and customers was to be served by severing the relationship," he added.

In a statement, Fifa described the settlement as a "mutually agreeable resolution".

Mastercard said it remained committed to its other footballing sponsorships, including the European Champions League and next year's European Championships.




SEE ALSO
Mastercard World Cup deal wobbles
27 May 07 |  Business
Mastercard wins World Cup lawsuit
07 Dec 06 |  Business

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