Signed on the dotted line: Fifa confirms Russia's Alfa Bank as first regional World Cup sponsor

The global soccer body said they would “activate sponsorship initiatives” around the 2018 tournament, which is being hosted by Russia

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 July, 2016, 7:18pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 July, 2016, 7:20pm

Fifa, which has struggled to find commercial partners since they were battered by a corruption scandal last year, named a Russian bank as their first regional World Cup sponsor on Monday.

The global soccer body said Alfa Bank would “activate sponsorship initiatives” around the 2018 World Cup, which is being hosted by Russia.

Fifa said that, under a new commercial strategy for the World Cup, up to four packages were being offered for regional sponsors in each of five regions they listed as Europe, North America, South America, Middle East and Africa, and Asia. They said there was a growing interest in the approach.

Fifa was thrown into turmoil last year after criminal investigations were launched into the sport in the United States, where several dozen former soccer officials have been indicted, and Switzerland.

They were also forced to reform their bidding process after a December 2010 vote awarded the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Gianni Infantino was elected to the Fifa presidency in February after promising greater funding for Fifa’s 211 member associations during his campaign.

He said increasing sponsorship revenue would be a priority for his presidency.

Fifa sources have said the federation faces a shortfall of about US$500 million in their predictions if they fails to reach sponsorship revenue targets.