FIFA and Coca-Cola extend partnership till 2022

World football body, FIFA and the Coca-Cola Co have extended their commercial partnership through 2022 in a deal worth about US$ 500 million. According to AP, Coca-Cola is the fourth blue chip company to join FIFA's top tier of sponsors for the 2007-2014 period. The others are German sports equipment supplier Adidas, South Korean car maker Hyundai and Japanese electronic giant Sony. The final two companies will be named soon under a new arrangement whereby FIFA opened the bidding for sponsorship for the first time.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Coca-Cola chairman and chief executive officer E. Nevill Isdell signed the partnership agreement at a ceremony in Cape Town, one of the venues for the 2010 World Cup. Blatter said Coke was the only partner so far to commit itself through 2022 and recalled that back in 1975, FIFA was desperately looking for sponsors to shore up its rocky finances.

Coke and FIFA have been official partners since 1978, although the company's backing of the sport dates back to 1950 when it started advertising in World Cup stadiums. The partnership agreement guarantees Coca-Cola exclusive rights as nonalcoholic beverage supplier to all FIFA's major competitions, including the World Cup and sales rights for television and stadium advertising.

Coke will sponsor a new "FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour" to parade the World Cup trophy throughout Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. It also plans a new initiative to make discounted tickets available for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to counter mounting criticism that the cost of tickets will be way beyond the reach of ordinary African soccer fans.