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Visa sponsorship of FIFA, World Cup worth over $150M

LONDON -- Visa and FIFA will sign a sponsorship agreement Thursday worth $150 million to $200 million.

The deal was confirmed Wednesday by an official close to the negotiations, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement hadn't been announced. FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren said he was unable to confirm the deal.

Visa will be introduced as FIFA's new financial services partner at the soccer body's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, the official said. Visa chief executive Christopher Rodrigues and FIFA president Sepp Blatter are expected to make the announcement.

Visa will become the fifth company to join FIFA's top tier of sponsors for the 2007-14 period, joining Coca-Cola, Adidas, Sony and Hyundai. A sixth sponsor is expected to be announced at a later date.

The deal will make Visa the official credit card at all of FIFA's major competitions, including the World Cup, and give the company exclusive advertising rights. Visa is also a global sponsor of the Olympics and the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Credit card rival MasterCard was a sponsor at the last three World Cups and will again be a sponsor at this year's tournament in Germany.

In November, Coca-Cola and FIFA extended their partnership in a deal said to be worth about $500 million and run through 2022, making the beverage company the only sponsor to commit to FIFA for that long.

Other FIFA sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, Avaya, Continental, Deutsche Telekom, Emirates, Fujifilm, Gillette, McDonald's, Philips, Toshiba and Yahoo.

The next World Cup will be in South Africa in 2010, with the 2014 championship expected to be in Brazil.