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Business

China's Wanda new FIFA top sponsor

FIFA announced a new sponsorship deal with China's Wanda Group, in a win for the newly elected president of world football's governing body. The 14-year deal will give the Chinese top sponsorship rights.

FIFA announced a new sponsorship deal with China's Wanda Group, in a win for the newly elected president of world football's governing body.

Gianni Infantino, who replaced his

disgraced predecessor Sepp Blatter

last month, promised more funding for FIFA's 209 member associations during his campaign.

The deal with Wanda runs until 2030 and includes the next four World Cup games, and came one day after FIFA announced a $122-million (108-million-euro) loss for 2015, its first deficit since 2002.

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Big money behind it

Wanda, China's largest commercial property company, is owned by the country's richest man, Wang Jianlin. The company will "engage in numerous initiatives, with a strong focus towards grassroots football development in China and the Asian region," FIFA said.

The Swiss-based governing body has been plagued by a series of scandals. Criminal investigations into football are ongoing at home and in the US, where several former football officials have been indicted.

On Tuesday, FIFA applied for millions of dollars in compensation from ex-officials indicted there, a move Infantino said marked a change in attitude.

jd/hg (AFP, Reuters)

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