November 12 – UEFA has secured more than €200 million after signing a deal with Chinese online payments platform Alipay to become a major sponsor of its national team competitions.
According to a statement, the deal for Alipay to become UEFA’s official global payment partner “will include all UEFA national team football competitions from 2018 to 2026.” That means Euro 2020 and 2024, as well as the new Nations League.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin was in Shanghai on Friday to announce the eight-year deal saying the partnership should “further innovate the way in which UEFA engages with football fans around the world”
The company is controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, who runs Ant Financial Services Group and is the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and a UEFA statement added: “As global leaders in the field of digital finance technology and mobile payment, Alipay and Ant Financial aim to bring digital innovation to football fans, enhance their onsite experience and provide seamless payment and other services to fans in Europe and across the world.”
Alipay has more than 700 million active users in China and is only currently available to Chinese residents or bank account holders. The move is in part aimed at Chinese tourists travelling to Europe, according to the Financial Times.
In its own statement, Alipay said the “aim [is] to bring digital innovation to football fans, enhance their on-site experience and provide seamless payment and other services to fans in Europe and across the world”.
Eric Jing, executive chairman and chief executive of Ant Financial, said: “We will empower UEFA to engage with football fans around the world through digital platforms and help UEFA reach and interact with a potential audience of billions in Asia.”
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