Dubai’s Emirates Airline confirmed Monday that it would not renew its sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. The company’s current deal with soccer’s international governing body expires at the end of 2014.
“Emirates can confirm that a decision has been made not to review the sponsorship agreement with FIFA past 2014. This decision was made following an evaluation of FIFA’s contract proposal which did not meet Emirates’ expectations,” the airline said in a statement.
The airline was a major sponsor at the last three FIFA World Cups. Over the past four years, Emirates was one of six major sponsors that combined to spend about $700 million to promote the 2014 tournament in Brazil, the Associated Press reports. Four of those sponsors – Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai and Visa – have renewed their sponsorship deals with FIFA through at least 2022. A fifth, Sony, has yet to sign a new deal.
Qatar Airways, the national airline of 2022 World Cup host nation Qatar, could replace Emirates, according to various reports. FIFA would not comment on what it described as “ongoing negotiations” with the airline.
Emirates has served as a World Cup sponsor since 2006. A profile of the airline’s partnership with FIFA is prominently displayed on its website.
“Following the success of the tournament in Germany, Emirates cemented its status as an Official FIFA Worldwide Partner in 2007 and celebrates the passion for the beautiful game that is felt in all corners of the earth,” the profile said. “As an Official Worldwide Partner, Emirates is involved in all major FIFA tournaments, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FIFA Youth World Cups and FIFA Club World Cup.”
Despite the end of its deal with FIFA, Emirates remains a sponsor for several major international soccer clubs. The company maintains relationships with Arsenal FC, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Hamburger SV, Real Madrid, Olympiacos FC and the Asian Football Confederation.