(WFI) Yingli Green Energy today became the first Chinese company to sign a global sponsorship deal with FIFA.

The leading solar energy company was unveiled at a press conference in Beijing. It is the first renewable energy firm to sponsor the South Africa 2010 World Cup, taking place from June 11 to July 11.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter congratulated Yingli Green Energy in a video message from Zurich. He said FIFA had chosen the company to become one of its international sponsors because of its track record of success in the field of renewable energy and the company’s commitment to the environment.

“The announcement of Yingli Green Energy as the first Chinese company to be a global sponsor of the FIFA World Cup marks a historical moment,” said Blatter.

“Furthermore, I am extremely pleased that Yingli has chosen to support 20 Centres for 2010, the official campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, by providing solar panels and committing to our efforts to create a better environment, as embodied by our ‘Green Goal’ concept.

“I want to commend Mr. Liansheng Miao and his team at Yingli Green Energy on this sponsorship and their commitment to helping us build a better future, which is one of our most important missions.”

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke added: “We are looking forward to sharing ideas on how to go about making the world greener and cleaner through the love of football.”

Yingli Green Energy joins a sponsorship program for the 2010 World Cup that includes long-term FIFA Partners adidas, Coca-Cola, Emirates, Kia, Sony and Visa. Also sponsoring this summer’s tournament are Budweiser, McDonalds, Castrol, Continental tyres, MTN mobile communications and Satyam IT services company.

Yingli Green Energy’s sponsorship for the 2010 World Cup gives the company global marketing rights, including certain ticket, perimeter-board advertising and media rights and also allows it to showcase its solar products at the fan zones in the World Cup stadiums.

The agreement gives Yingli Green Energy the right to place its company logo next to the FIFA World Cup emblem and advertise or promote its products and services at each step of the distribution process. Yingli will have access to extensive on-site opportunities at World Cup stadiums for marketing and promotion purposes.

Liansheng Miao, chairman and CEO of Yingli Green Energy, said: “This sponsorship links Yingli Green Energy to the world’s most popular and passionately followed sport. We feel privileged to have this opportunity, and look forward to offering our expertise to help FIFA leverage this much-loved sport to promote a better, greener environment.

Yingli Green Energy is one of the world’s largest vertically integrated photovoltaic manufacturers. Headquartered in Baoding, China, it has more than 6,000 employees and over 10 branch offices worldwide.

The deal is the latest indication of FIFA’s ambitions in China, the biggest growth market in world football. Last November, FIFA announced a landmark deal with China Central Television (CCTV) covering the broadcasting of its tournaments on CCTV through 2014, including the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. FIFA said it marked an important step in developing and strengthening the game in China where football is enjoying a boom in popularity.

Written by Mark Bisson ([email protected])

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