MasterCard will be an official partner for UEFA EURO 2004™, as well as for the UEFA Champions League between 2003 and 2006.
The deal was announced in Berlin on Wednesday by UEFA President Lennart Johansson and MasterCard senior vice-president John Stuart. MasterCard - which has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with European football's governing body - will be the preferred payment system for UEFA EURO 2004 ™ in Portugal next summer, offering a considerable range of products including credit cards, charge cards, branded money transfer and travellers' cheques.
A number of guests from the football family were invited to the ceremony in the German capital, including German football legend Franz Beckenbauer and the Brazilian great Pelé. "This gathering symbolises MasterCard's wide-ranging commitment to our great game, and I am proud to join my colleagues for today's event," said Mr Johansson. "I know the support given to football by MasterCard takes many forms, and in Europe now covers not only top professional football, but also our top tournaments for women and young players."
The UEFA President continued: "At all levels, football is so important to so many people, and in UEFA we are particularly pleased to combine our efforts with the valued support of a partner that brings the right approach to the game and a genuine international appeal for the fans. Over recent years, European football has certainly grown in popularity and interest, and is watched and followed by a huge and diverse audience in every corner of the continent. MasterCard has helped to make that possible in the past, and now for the future as well."
Referring to the Champions League agreement, Mr Johansson said: "MasterCard has been a loyal supporter of the UEFA Champions League since 1994. Match after match, season after season, MasterCard has been, and will continue to be, an important contributor to what has become Europe's most prestigious club competition.
"MasterCard has also been playing a key role in increasing the profile of the UEFA European Football Championship. MasterCard's support will now cover four editions of the championship, as the partnership goes back to the 1992 edition held in my native Sweden, which I remember with great personal affection. This alliance with MasterCard has not only made a significant contribution to the standing of the UEFA EURO competition, but it has also helped bring benefits to the whole of the European football family."
MasterCard Europe chief marketing Officer Arjen Krüger said: "I'm delighted that MasterCard will strengthen its partnership with UEFA by sponsoring UEFA EURO 2004™. I am very pleased and proud that we are showing continuous support to this sports event - one of the most popular in the world. At the same time, we are also delighted to be an official sponsor of the UEFA Champions League for the next three seasons, and to be part of the exciting moments together with football fans all around the world."
Mr Kruger concluded: "As the largest sponsor of European football, MasterCard will use this unique platform to continue its successful marketing activities. The integrated approach of sponsorship promotions and advertising with Europe's premier football properties will provide MasterCard with an exceptional stage to reinforce brand image and awareness, that will ultimately help our members reinforce business."
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