Saudi oil giant agrees major FIFA sponsorship deal until 2027


Saudi oil giant agrees major FIFA sponsorship deal until 2027

A banner bearing the Aramco logo
A banner bearing the Aramco logoAFP
Saudi Arabia's state oil giant Aramco and world football governing body FIFA on Thursday announced a major sponsorship agreement until the end of 2027.

The deal is the latest high-profile investment in global sports for Saudi Arabia who have already been confirmed as the only bid for the 2034 World Cup.

In a joint statement, it was confirmed Aramco would become FIFA's Major Worldwide Partner exclusive in the energy category.

The deal involves sponsorship rights for multiple events including the 2026 Men's World Cup and the Women's World Cup the following year.

"We are delighted to welcome Aramco to FIFA's family of global partners," FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a joint statement released by the energy company.

"This partnership will assist FIFA to successfully deliver its flagship tournaments over the next four years and, as is the case with all our commercial agreements, enable us to provide enhanced support to our 211 FIFA member associations across the globe.

"Aramco has a strong track record of supporting world-class events, but also a focus on developing grassroots sport initiatives.

"We look forward to collaborating with them on a variety of initiatives over the coming years."

It is the latest high-profile lucrative sporting pact by the Middle Eastern country which has been accused of "sportswashing" to hide human rights abuses.

Premier League club Newcastle United and LIV Golf are financed through the Saudi Public Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth vehicle, which is also pouring money into making the Saudi Pro League a destination of choice for players.

Earlier this month the Women's Tennis Association committed to the WTA Finals for the next three editions in the capital Riyadh after a "strategic partnership" was agreed with the Association of Tennis Professionals which runs the men's game.

Formula 1, heavyweight boxing, horse racing and some of football's biggest stars now appear regularly in the desert nation.

In 2034, the same year as the World Cup, Riyadh will host the Asian Games - a two-week tournament with more events than the Summer Olympics and a similar number of athletes.

"Through this partnership with FIFA we aim to contribute to football development and harness the power of sport to make an impact around the globe," Aramco CEO Amin H. Nasser said.

"It reflects our ambition to enable vibrant communities and extends our backing of sport as a platform for growth."

Nasser said their involvement with Saudi football team Al-Qadsiah, women's golf through the Aramco Team Series, and raising awareness of scientific subjects in schools "demonstrate the possibilities of such partnerships to create pathways for opportunity, positively impact society and promote development at the grassroots level".

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