Alibaba Aims to Contribute to the FIFA World Cup

The Chines online retailer intends to sponsor the FIFA World Cup for dominating the sports sector

Alibaba Group Holding Limited is looking to become a leading FIFA sponsor, revealed people aware of the matter, a collaboration that would improve the relations between the top officials of global soccer and Chinese power brokers. The company might become the second China based organization to pledge to the soccer’s regulator at a high-level after Dalian Wanda Group earlier signed up in 2015.

Since President of China Xi, Jinping success in turning soccer into a nationwide priority, Chinese businessmen and companies have invested in international as well as national clubs, and the state has said it desires to hold the FIFA World Cup. A sponsorship agreement has not been finalized and information is not known. It could involve any subsidiary or affiliate of the group. For instance, FIFA Club World Cup title sponsor is Alibaba E-Auto.

Alibaba Sports has been communicating with FIFA due to its association with Club World Cup, stated Shanghai- based spokesman Wang Jingyi, who refused to further comment. A representative of FIFA stated the company does not share views on speculation regarding commercial negotiations. FIFA has not been able to easily sign sponsors in the aftermath of a corruption scam that led to allegations against many leading officials. Before Dalian Wanda, it had not included a new top-tier sponsor since three or four years.

In the meantime, its legal expenses grew to $62 million, and the company recorded a loss in 2015 for the first time since 14 years ago. The company has three sponsorship tiers, six to eight slots are designated for “FIFA partners,” a pledge that is offered at a cost of around $40 million on annual basis and continues for a four year World Cup cycle. Two months ago, Walian joined Visa Inc, Gazprom, Coca- Cola company, Addidas AG as well as Hyundai Motor company at that topmost level.

There are yet two open slots, which the persons aware of the issue stated are probably to be filled by the summer-end. They were not interested in being identified as talks are continuing and confidential. During a press conference to announce Dalian Wanda’s partnership, CEO and founder Wang Jianlin predicted another China based organization would sign up “within a very short time.”

Wanda stated by backing FIFA, the country would hold a better chance of organizing the World Cup, a tournament for which the Chinese team last qualified 14 years ago, when it failed to win all 3 group games. In 2018,the upcoming World cup will be held in Russia.

FIFA is re-assessing its rule that doesn’t let the soccer World Cup take place in the same region in a consecutive manner. As Qatar, which hosted the cup in 2022, under the Asian soccer confederation, the present regulations mean the country won’t be in a position to hold the competition up till 2030 at the earliest.

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