UEFA on Tuesday announced the extension of Mastercardâ€™s partnership with the UEFA Champions League for the 2018-21 cycle, continuing its relationship with the leading global payments and technology company which began in 1994.The agreement also includes sponsorship rights for the UEFA Super Cup in 2018, 2019 and 2020.For over 20 years Mastercard has been a supporter of Europeâ€™s premier club competition and has been giving priceless experiences to fans globally. Mastercard will continue to offer children from around the world the opportunity to become Player Mascots and have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk onto the pitch alongside some of the gameâ€™s biggest stars before UEFA Champions League matches.Commenting on the agreement, UEFA Events SA Marketing Director, Guy-Laurent Epstein, said:â€œLongevity is instrumental in building successful partnerships, and we are delighted to extend our relationship with Mastercard.â€œPartnering with a global brand such as Mastercard presents many benefits and opportunities for UEFA and we are excited about continuing our excellent relationship over the coming years. As an industry leading technology company, we look forward to further collaboration with Mastercard, as the role of digital becomes increasingly important in building deeper connections with global audiences,â€ he noted.President Mastercard Europe, Javier PÃ©rez, said: â€œWe are very proud to renew our long-standing sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League. Key sporting events are a great way for us to directly connect fans across the world to their passion.â€œWe will also continue to create innovative business-building opportunities for our partners. As we enjoy our 24th year as an official sponsor, we are excited to witness new priceless moments at this yearâ€™s UEFA Champions League Final in Kiev. Looking forward to â€˜Start Something Pricelessâ€™ for at least another three years!â€ he concluded.This is the fourth partnership extension for the 2018-21 sponsorship sales process for the UEFA Champions League, with Heineken, Nissan and PepsiCo signing new deals, while Santander has joined as a new partner.The worldwide sales of all UEFA club competition sponsorship rights are being carried out by TEAM Marketing AG on UEFAâ€™s behalf.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
The mood of these Nigerians is understandable. Playing second fiddle to the same Argentina, a record fifth time, starting with Eagles debut defeat at the Mundial in USA in 1994, has sort of become an anathema. And in all of these defeats, only one goal separates Nigeria from the euphoria of victory. What makes this particular defeat more painful is perhaps, Nigeria was just four minutes away from making it to the knock out stage.With the South Americans in the Top 10 bracket of global football and Nigeria in the 49th, nobody expected them to fall so easily. Not with top players like Barcelonaâ€™s Lionel Messi, Manchester Unitedâ€™s Rojo, Manchester Cityâ€™s duo of Sergio Kun Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi, PSGâ€™s duo of Angel di Maria and Gionani Lo Celso, Juveâ€™s duo of Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, and several other top players too numerous to recall here. The Albiceleste were clear favourites to pick the second ticket after Croatia had topped the group going into the third matches with two wins.But the never-give-spirit in us gave several Nigerians here in Russia and elsewhere around the world the hope that miracle was possible against the Argies. And they held on to that faith. Not even Messiâ€™s brilliant early goal against Eagles could stop these incurable Nigerians from dream of a possible berth in the Last 16. Some of them chorused that after all, Nigeria defeated Iceland who held the South American nation to a draw.And then a part of Eaglesâ€™ Oyinbo Wall, Leon Balogun was fouled by former Barcelona defender, Javier Mascherano, inside Argentina box to earn the penalty beautifully converted by Victor Moses. That equalizer reinforced that belief that miracle was on the way. But all that was not to be as the experienced Turkish arbiter stood his ground that it was not a penalty despite television replay showing the ball bouncing off Rojoâ€™s left arm.At the end of 95 minutes encounter inside the St Petersburg Stadium, the Argentines who constituted 98 per cent of the 64,468 fans inside arena celebrated the way they have done in the previous encounters at USA â€˜94, Korea/Japan 2002, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014.And so, all the grooves planned ahead to celebrate Nigeriaâ€™s triumph over Argentina for the first time at competitive level failed to hold. Top Nigerian artistes like Tu Face, Sound Sultan, Timi Dakolo and Oritshefemi among the Shaku Shaku artistesand several others including comedians in town for the Shaku Shaku dance party failed to hold. Instead, forlorn and angry faces replaced the excitement with which the few Nigerians here entered St Petersburg.With Qatar 2022 just four years away, only posterity can tell if the hoodoo surrounding the perennial agony inflicted on Nigerians will continue if Eagles &India themselves in the same group as the Albiceleste.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram DUROâ€™S RUSSIA NOTE…Everywhere you go here in St Petersburg since Tuesday night, what you see on the faces of Nigerians is annoyance and anger. They are yet to get over the Group D loss to Argentina here at the World Cup in St Petersburg.What you hear mostly from these Nigerians are: If only Odion Ighalo had scored that opportunity that came his way, deep into the second half; If only Turkish Centre Referee, Cuneyt Cakir, had awarded Nigeria a second penalty from the ball handled by Marcos Rojo inside Argentinaâ€™s box. Perhaps, Nigeria will not be home-bound now so early in the tournament.