VW set to replace Mercedes as German soccer team sponsor | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 13.07.2017
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VW set to replace Mercedes as German soccer team sponsor

German media have reported that the German Football Association (DFB) might end its long partnership with premium carmaker Mercedes and switch to rival Volkswagen as the car sponsor for the national team.

According to German media reports the German Football Association (DFB) will sign a sponsorship contract with Volkswagen (VW) on Friday, ending a partnership with Mercedes that has lasted for 45 years.

VW would pay between 25 and 30 million euros ($22.7 million and $34.1 million) a year to become the car sponsor of the German national football team, the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported, citing sources close to the negotiations. The partnership would include a payment of 6 million euros for DFB's national cup competition, which VW already sponsors.

"Football would fit Volkswagen's image because it's the sport of the people," a VW spokesman told FAZ.

The DFB has so far denied the reports saying on Thursday that "our bodies have not yet made any decision."

The sum is a major improvement for German football as the current main car sponsor Mercedes pays only around 8 million euros a year. It gives VW the right to have its logo printed on the Germany training and pre-match kits, next to the DFB's main sponsor,  Adidas.

A spokesperson for Daimler - the parent company of the Mercedes car brand - said the luxury automaker would like to continue working with the national team. "The partnership with the DFB was successful and could be also successful in the future," he added.

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Record deals

The Volkswagen deal, if approved by DFB officials on Friday, would become the second most valuable deal for the German Football Association.

By comparison, the English Football Association receives 6 million pounds a year from carmaker Vauxhall, with the contract, however, expiring at the end of 2018.

But VW is desperate enough to pay up, as it seeks to polish its tarnished image after an emissions-cheating scandal involving about 11 million diesel cars worldwide. Being the world's largest carmaker by sales, it still sits on a massive cash pile despite the hefty fines and compensations it has paid so far.

Last year, the DFB signed a record kit sponsorship with Adidas worth 50 million euros a year until 2022. The former contract with Adidas - giving the DFB 25 million euros a year - would have expired next year. Initially, Adidas' American rival Nike was hotly tipped to win the contract, but experts suggested the world's biggest sportswear manufacturer was only named by the DFB to push the price up.

uhe/bb (Reuters, dpa)

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