FIFA is reportedly in the process of accomplishing a sponsorship deal with Saudi oil company Aramco valued at $1bn.
According to The Times, the Saudi state-backed company is on its way to becoming the football governing body’s largest sponsor with annual payments edging close to $100m over 10 years.
The reports come shortly after FIFA opened the bidding process to host the 2034 World Cup early, with Saudi Arabia becoming the sole contender after Australia dropped from the race – with FIFA announcing a more relaxed stadium policy that significantly aided the Middle Eastern country’s application.
FIFA’s conduct regarding the bidding process has been questioned, with the New York Times publishing an article in 2020 reporting that US Department of Justice officials accused Russian and Qatari representatives of bribing FIFA officials to secure the 2018 and 2022 editions of the World Cup.
With the FIFA-Aramco deal yet to be confirmed, it is still unclear whether the negotiations took place prior to, during or after the Saudi World Cup bid.