Bonn, Germany – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Visa International announced today that they have renewed their exclusive partnership agreement making Visa the official payments sponsor of the IPC through the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

The agreement – which was the first of its kind for the International Paralympic Committee when created two years ago – includes exclusive marketing and promotional rights for Visa within the payment services category. Visa and its member banks will continue to develop promotions featuring the IPC, which, in turn, will receive a financial contribution as well as marketing and media support through Visa cardholder communications, promotions and advertising.

“With this renewal Visa will continue its important work with the IPC to support the entire Paralympic Movement,” said Tom Shepard, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing Partnerships and Sponsorship, Visa International. “As a pioneering supporter of the worldwide Paralympic Movement, we believe Visa is facilitating progress toward greater worldwide acceptance of people with disabilities by promoting awareness of athletes with disabilities and by providing products and services that enable equal access.”

Visa currently sponsors the Paralympic Games as part of its agreement with the International Olympic Committee to support both the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Visa has the exclusive global marketing rights and official status for the Paralympic Games through 2012.

“We are pleased that our worldwide partner Visa is extending its partnership with the IPC for another four years. Visa will actively promote the Paralympic Movement in their communications to clients and the public, helping us to further augment awareness of the Paralympic Games and values around the world,” said Sir Philip Craven, IPC President.

The IPC is the international governing body of sports for athletes with a disability. It supervises and co-ordinates the Paralympic Summer and Winter Games and other multi-disability competitions, of which the most important are the World and Regional Championships. The IPC also supports the recruitment and development of athletes at a local, national and international level across all performance levels.

Visa is proud to continue its Olympic and Paralympic Games sponsorship with the Torino 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. As a worldwide Paralympic partner, Visa is the official payment service of the Paralympic Games and the only card accepted at all Paralympic Winter Games venues for any official Paralympic-related transactions. Visa has been the official payment service of the last two Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City, USA, and Athens, Greece.

In working with the IPC and individual National Paralympic Committees, Visa has developed marketing initiatives designed to increase Visa transactions and brand awareness while providing numerous benefits for Visa cardholders and Paralympic athletes. Promotional programmes, competitions, marketing and financial support will help increase awareness of the Paralympic Games and their inspirational message.

The Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games will take place in Torino, Italy, from 10 to 19 March 2006, and will feature approximately 1,300 athletes, coaches and officials representing around 40 National Paralympic Committees.

Winter athletes will compete in four sports – Alpine Skiing, Ice Sledge Hockey, Nordic Skiing and Wheelchair Curling.

Visa has been a supporter of National Paralympic Committees around the world since the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games and is a two-time sponsor of the Paralympic Congress. In 1998, Visa supported the Nagano 1998 Paralympic Winter Games, both through operational efforts and marketing support. This involvement included providing an international ATM network for visitors and athletes, online customer services for Visa cardholders, and extending merchant acceptance locations within select Paralympic venues.

Visa’s involvement through technology, expertise, products and personnel is fundamental to the staging of the Paralympic Games. Visa also looks to use its widely known and respected brand to help bring the achievements of Paralympic athletes to a worldwide audience.

About Visa: Visa connects cardholders, merchants and financial institutions through the world’s largest electronic payments network. Visa products allow buyers and sellers to conduct commerce with ease and confidence in both the physical and virtual worlds. As an association owned by 21,000 member financial institutions, Visa is committed to the sustained growth of electronic payment systems to support the needs of all stakeholders and to drive economic growth.

For more information, visit http://www.corporate.visa.com/.

About IPC: The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) organizes, supervises and co-ordinates the Paralympic Summer and Winter Games, but also other competitions including World and Regional Championships in 13 sports.For these sports, the IPC also acts as the International Federation. With 161 National Paralympic Committees, the IPC is one of the largest sport organizations in the world representing the vast majority of athletes with a disability.

For more information, visit http://www.paralympic.org/.
Contact:  Mike Sherman, Visa International, Tel: + 1 650 432 3923 at globalmedia@visa.com, Miriam Wilkens, International Paralympic Committee, Tel. +49 228 2097 180 at miriam.wilkens@paralympic.org