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FIFA wins appeals ruling over Visa row- 29 May 2007 00:00:00

In a shock decision, FIFA has made surprising headway in its fight to install Visa as a World Cup sponsor after a US appeals court ruled over the weekend that the case must be revisited.

The governing body’s battle to rubber stamp its sponsorship deal with Visa for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups appeared to be dead and buried after a US court ruled in December that existing sponsor MasterCard should be given the rights to the contract.

MasterCard had brought the case against FIFA and Visa after losing the exclusive category sponsorship with the court ruling in MasterCard’s favour after finding that FIFA had ‘lied repeatedly’ in the contract negotiations.

The ruling led to FIFA axing its marketing director Jerome Valcke along with three colleagues who had been involved in the contract talks.

The decision by the US appeals court panel of three judges will now see the case return to court, greatly enhancing FIFA’s ability to conclude its deal with Visa.

At issue is whether a 2006 agreement between MasterCard and FIFA was binding and whether it superseded an earlier 2002 contract, which MasterCard claims gave it right of first refusal on any new deal.

The appeal court ruling said: ‘The district court is free to reconsider other aspects of its original decision and relief ordered if the answer to the question for which we have remanded the case causes the court to rethink one or more of its rulings.’

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