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FIFA given time over MasterCard ruling- 27 Dec 2006 00:00:00

FIFA has been granted a stay of execution in its ongoing legal battle with MasterCard after a federal court ruled that the governing body does not have to immediately comply with the court order made in the credit card's favour earlier this month.

The New York Southern District Court ruled that FIFA does not have to act immediately with the court order requiring it to grant MasterCard an eight-year World Cup sponsorship deal, pending the outcome of a requested appeal against the decision made in a Swiss court.

FIFA had requested that the lodged appeal be granted a suspensive effect so that neither MasterCard nor VISA may demand fulfilment of the sponsorship contract during the appeal procedure.

MasterCard had successfully undertaken legal action against FIFA over the way it handed the World Cup sponsorship contract to rival Visa following this summer's tournament. The US court ruled that FIFA had 'repeatedly lied' to MasterCard during the negotiations over its right to first refusal on a contract extension.

Should the Swiss court throw out FIFA's appeal over the ruling then the governing body will be forced to cancel its £150m contract with Visa and offer MasterCard the World Cup rights to the 2008 and 2012 tournaments.

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