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Volkswagen replaces Mercedes-Benz as DFB partner

Volkswagen has today (Friday) ousted rival automotive manufacturer Mercedes-Benz as a major partner of the German Football Association (DFB) after agreeing a five-year contract with the national governing body.

Mercedes-Benz has been a long-term partner of the DFB, but its contract will now end on December 31, 2018 with Volkswagen’s deal set to run through to July 31, 2024.

Volkswagen emerged victorious after a tender process in which its rival also participated. It will serve as the DFB’s official mobility partner and will also continue to back the DFB-Pokal club competition. The process represented the first time the DFB has launched a tender for its mobility category.

Volkswagen and the DFB agreed a six-season extension of their DFB-Pokal partnership in March 2016. The deal, through which Volkswagen serves as an official partner of the tournament, was set to run until the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

A source at the company told the Reuters news agency that VW will pay between €25m ($28.5m) and €30m per year for the contract, including €6m in sponsor fees for the DFB-Pokal.

DFB president Reinhard Grindel said: “It is a good fit for the DFB. VW’s commitment to the entire football from the top to the bottom has been shown, most recently in the many regional and local partnerships of the VW dealerships with amateur clubs, while at the same time, Volkswagen is a strong partner in the international market, particularly in China.”

Volkswagen’s DFB-Pokal extension last year came with the company’s position as a major sponsor within the world of sport having been called into question since it admitted in September 2015 to cheating diesel emission tests on its vehicles in the United States.

Herbert Diess, chief executive of the Volkswagen brand, said: “For the next few years, we have set ourselves a lot of goals as a company. Volkswagen is changing. We face great challenges. This includes helping to make electromobility a breakthrough. The partnership with the DFB will help us achieve our goals.”