Date
21 July 2017
The withdrawal of some Western companies from FIFA sponsorship has created an opportunity for Dalian Wanda, says Wang Jianlin. Photo: Reuters
The withdrawal of some Western companies from FIFA sponsorship has created an opportunity for Dalian Wanda, says Wang Jianlin. Photo: Reuters

China’s Dalian Wanda steps into FIFA void

Dalian Wanda Group Co. will become FIFA’s first major Chinese partner, stepping into a void left by other sponsors following a corruption scandal at the world football governing body.

The Beijing-based conglomerate has inked a deal with FIFA that grants the former the highest level of sponsorship rights including the next four World Cup tournaments, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Wanda started laying the groundwork for the deal at least two years ago as it set out to buy a Swiss company with ties to FIFA leadership, the Journal noted.

The entertainment and property giant is seeking to advance soccer in China amid President Xi Jinping’s stated goal that China will one day host the World Cup.

Other companies have tried to distance themselves from FIFA, afraid that investigations of alleged corruption and bribery at the federation would tarnish their own reputations.

Sponsors such as Castrol, Johnson & Johnson and Continental AG chose not to renew their deals with FIFA last year.

Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin says their misgivings are his gain.

“Departures of Western companies created an opportunity for us,” he was quoted as saying.

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RA/RC

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