Visa, the international credit card giant, has become the first global women’s soccer partner for Fifa, the sport’s worldwide governing body, in the wake of a thorough recent reorganization of the latter's commercial partnerships structure.

Visa, which has been collaborating in various ways with Fifa since 2007 – and which is also a standalone women's soccer partner of European governing body Uefa – will come on board formally as the first Global Fifa Women’s Football Partner under “the newly-launched commercial partnership structure, which comes into effect in 2023”, the governing body announced today.

As a result of the opportunities afforded by this new structure, the brand will secure sponsorship rights and will become the exclusive payment service at the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup, to be held in Australia and New Zealand.

Visa will, Fifa has said, “implement its innovative payment technology at tournament venues” across the WWC, and will also “deliver exclusive experiences for fans and clients” at the event.

In addition, the firm will incorporate its Team Visa program at the WWC, as well as put its name to each Player of the Match award.

The recent sponsorship package reworking by Fifa (which will become operational at the end of the ongoing 2019-22 rights cycle) gives brands the opportunity to choose which of three verticles – men’s, women’s, or esports – they commercially partner with.

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The current model, which was put in place in 2013, gives six to eight official ‘Fifa Partners’ sponsorship rights to every Fifa competition, including men’s, women’s and esports’.

Below this, there are then separate tiers on a lower level for specific men’s and women’s events. In total, the men’s game has three tiers, with two for its women’s equivalent.

Under the new system, however, while the governing body has retained its highest all-encompassing ‘Fifa Partner’ category, it has offered more clear delineations between its second-tier men’s, women’s, and esports packages, with all three sectors now having three levels each.

A brand that chooses the Women’s World Cup Sponsor package, for example, will have exactly the same rights for the female game as it would by choosing the men’s World Cup Sponsor package for the male equivalent.

In total, brands have the option of 10 packages, with the changes having come into effect before the cycles start for the 2023 Women's World Cup and the 2026 men's equivalent.

The men’s game has categories for World Cup Partners, followed by World Cup Sponsors and then Men’s Tournament Supporters, while the women's game has categories for Women’s Football Partners, above Women’s World Cup Sponsors and Women’s Tournament Supporters.

Saria Bareman, chief women’s football officer at Fifa, has now said: “As a long-standing Fifa Partner and a proud supporter of women’s soccer, it was a natural choice for Visa to become the first-ever Women’s Football Partner.

“Visa is well known for supporting athletes and seeing the positive benefits that can come through sport. They are advocates for equality, diversity and inclusion, core values that are shared by Fifa and the Women’s World Cup.”

Andrea Fairchild, senior vice-president of global sponsorship strategy at Visa, added: “Our commitment to women’s football is not short-term – we see these women as game-changers in the biggest sense of the word and love to see the new heights women’s soccer continues to reach. We are thrilled to continue this trajectory as we look toward Australia and New Zealand in 2023.”

Fifa has been working to unbundle the sponsorship rights for its specific women’s competitions over the last 18 months.

With regards to the Women’s World Cup – next due to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 2023 – in some markets the competition is still bundled together with the men’s edition and other Fifa competitions, but in others, including France and the UK, it is sold by itself.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup will mark the first time a WWC includes 32 sides, and the first time the event takes place in the southern hemisphere.