Visa, FIFA Declare 8-Year Sponsorship Deal Worth $

"We are delighted to confirm that Visa has signed an eight-year partnership agreement with FIFA and will become one of six FIFA partners with global rights to a broad range of FIFA activities," said Michael Sherman, Visa's vice president of corporate relations.

Visa becomes the fifth company to join FIFA's top tier of sponsors for the 2007-14 period, joining Coca-Cola, Adidas, Sony and Hyundai. A sixth sponsor has still to be announced.

The deal makes Visa the official credit card at all of FIFA's major competitions, including the World Cup, and gives the company exclusive advertising rights.

Visa is also a global sponsor of the Olympic Games and the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Credit card rival MasterCard was a sponsor at the last three World Cup tournaments, and will again be a sponsor at this year's tournament in Germany.

In November, Coca-Cola and FIFA extended their partnership in a deal that was said to be worth about US$500 million and runs through 2022 -- making the American beverage company the only sponsor to commit to FIFA for that long.

Other FIFA sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, Avaya, Continental, Deutsche Telekom, Emirates, Fujifilm, Gillette, McDonald's, Philips, Toshiba and Yahoo.

The next World Cup will be played in South Africa in 2010, with the 2014 championship expected to be held in Brazil.

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