Business / Economy

More Chinese companies 'to partner with FIFA'

By Hu Yuanyuan and Yan Dongjie (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-22 03:03

More Chinese companies 'to partner with FIFA'

Wang Jianlin(second from right),chairman of Wanda Group,together with FIFA and China Football Association officials,attend a news conference in Beijing on Monday. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Besides Wanda, two more Chinese companies will sign up as FIFA partners this year, Wang Jianlin, chairman of property giant Wanda Group, said on Monday.

"As far as I know, if everything goes smoothly, another two Chinese companies will become FIFA's top-level sponsors this year," Wang said at a news conference, without disclosing details.

Wanda Group has signed a sponsorship contract with FIFA, according to a statement by the world soccer governing body on Friday.

The contract will grant Wanda the highest level of sponsorship rights, which will be valid for 15 years and includes the next four FIFA World Cup events, it said.

"Chances of China qualifying for the World Cup will become brighter with more Chinese companies becoming FIFA sponsors," Wang said.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Friday in Switzerland that he believes the relationship with Wanda "will support us to continue the ongoing development and growth of the game in China and all over the world".

Wang said the cooperation is not a money-for-fame deal, but includes a package of agreements that will help promote the development of the soccer sector and the whole sports industry in China.

There are eight seats for the top-level FIFA sponsors globally, with US companies dominating the list. Wang said that, barring any obstacles, Wanda and another two Chinese companies will sit at the top level with Adidas, Coca-Cola, Gazprom, Hyundai Motor Co and Visa Inc.

The financial amount of the Wanda partnership has not been revealed.

Wang said Wanda has spotted the great potential of soccer. "It is the most popular sport in the world. This fact will not be affected by the scandals," he said, alluding to recent corruption charges leveled against officials of the soccer body.

He said now is a great time for Chinese companies to get involved with the industry around the world.

Since last year, through the acquisitions of Infront Sports & Media in Switzerland, World Triathlon Corp in the United States and the endurance sports sector of Lagardere Sports & Entertainment in France, Wanda has established an integrated value chain to become the world's largest sports company by revenue.

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