Soccer-Asian confederation cancels commercial deal 'with immediate effect'

Reuters · 09/15/2023 10:54
Soccer-Asian confederation cancels commercial deal 'with immediate effect'

By Michael Church

- The Asian Football Confederation terminated its commercial relationship with Football Marketing Asia "with immediate effect" on Friday, less than three years into an exclusive eight-year deal with the Hong Kong-based company.

The contract, signed in 2018 and due to run from 2021 until the end of 2028, had been worth a reported $2.4 billion and was agreed when FMA was known as DDMC Fortis.

"The AFC's decision takes into careful consideration the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapidly evolving post-pandemic commercial environment," the confederation said in a statement.

"The end of the exclusive partnership with FMA enables the AFC to explore opportunities and collaborations that are better aligned with the current conditions, while securing its financial future for the long-term success of Asian football."

FMA won the rights in June 2018 following a tender process that featured several of the industry's leading sports marketing agencies, including the incumbent Lagardere Sports and Entertainment.

The original deal was renegotiated in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent global shutdown caused significant complications ahead of the start of the contract.

China's decision to withdraw from hosting the 2023 edition of the Asian Cup was a further blow to FMA, who were backed by Chinese company Wuhan DDMC Culture and Sports.

The AFC have since moved the 24- tournament to Qatar and have postponed the finals until January.

"The AFC are in the process of appointing a exclusive partner for the 2023-2028 term with more details to be announced in due course," the confederation said.

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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