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FIFA renews with Qatar Airways as a sponsor for World Cup in 2026 and 2030

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Qatar Airways staff in uniform, in background, assist in the medal ceremony, as French President Emmanuel Macron hugs France s Kylian Mbappe who was awarded the Golden Boot after the World Cup final soccer match between Argentina and France at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, on Dec. 18, 2022. AP

Qatar Airways has been renewed as the airline sponsor for the men’s World Cup in 2026 in North America and the 2030 tournament expected to be in Europe, Africa and South America, FIFA said Wednesday

The state-owned airline initially had a two-tournament deal for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 edition in Qatar.

The World Cup airline slot should next be vacant for the 2034 tournament, which is expected to be hosted by Saudi Arabia. The Saudis plan to launch a second national carrier called Riyadh Air.

The value of the new Qatar Airways deal was not disclosed but is likely worth hundreds of millions of dollars. At World Cup finals, trophy and medal presentation assistants are dressed in the airline’s uniform.

The airline was among seven top-tier men’s World Cup sponsors in the 2019-2022 commercial cycle, which FIFA said earned almost $1.8 billion in total marketing rights sales.

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It includes selected FIFA youth tournaments and the 2027 Women’s World Cup, which will have a host chosen in May.

The 2026 World Cup will be the first expanded tournament with 48 teams instead of 32, playing 104 games instead of 64, and sending teams, fans and officials across 16 cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The 2030 World Cup is set to include more long-haul travel than originally expected, playing games in six countries on three continents.

FIFA said last month it is working with only one bid — the long-favored Spain-Portugal co-hosting plan that added Morocco this year and now includes South American neighbors Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay hosting one game each as part of a centenary celebration. Uruguay was the inaugural World Cup host in 1930.

The 2030 and 2034 World Cup hosts are due to be formally picked next year.

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-AP

 

 

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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