Russia’s state-controlled natural-gas company Gazprom has signed a deal to become an official “partner” with international soccer’s governing body, FIFA.
The deal runs from 2015 through 2018, the year that Russia is scheduled to host football's premiere event, the World Cup.
Russia President Vladimir Putin presided over the weekend signing ceremony with FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Gazprom chief executive Aleksei Miller.
The deal was signed in Sochi, the Black Sea city that is preparing to host the Winter Olympics in February.
Some 2018 World Cup games are expected to be played in Sochi.
Gazprom also is a major sponsor of the Olympics.
Its total expenditure on the Sochi games is about $3 billion.
Based on reporting by Reuters and ITAR-TASS