© Getty Images - Petrodollars Return to FIFA

The Saudi-owned oil company Aramco, based in the host country for the 2034 World Cup, is reportedly on the verge of finalizing an agreement with FIFA to become the organization's primary sponsor, as reported by 'The Times' this Thursday.

Two weeks after presenting itself as the host for the 2034 World Cup (the only bid remaining after Australia withdrew at the last minute, making it the designated host, pending formal confirmation next year), the Saudi oil company emerges as the main sponsor of FIFA with a flood of petrodollars. The Federation, presided over by Swiss Gianni Infantino, is set to receive close to 100 million dollars per year.

As it has done in the past with sponsors linked to the nationality of the designated host site, as seen in the 2018 World Cup in Russia with the Russian energy giant Gazprom, or in the last World Cup in Qatar in 2022 with Qatar Airways and Qatar Energy, FIFA seeks to close commercial deals with Saudi-origin companies.

While the figure is very high, making it the largest amount the Federation of the sport will receive, it is not as much for the Saudis, considering that the company reported balances close to 150 billion dollars last year.

Once the agreement is signed, Aramco will become the main sponsor of the Federation, surpassing historical sponsors like Germany's ADIDAS or the United States' Coca-Cola, or the Korean Hyundai-Kia (joined in 1999, three years before the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup).

This type of association from Saudi Arabia is part of a strategy that many see as an image-building effort on the world stage by organizing and sponsoring major international events, from F1 to tennis, golf, cricket, to even the Spanish Super Cup, which will take place at Al-Awwal Park stadium in Riyadh on January 14, or the Club World Cup scheduled from December 12 to 22.