July 18, 2016

MOSCOW (AP) FIFA has filled the first of 20 sponsor slots for the 2018 World Cup in a new program that stalled during its corruption crisis.

FIFA says Russian bank Alfa-Bank has bought one of four European slots in a `Regional Supporter' category.

The deal announced Monday continues a trend of new FIFA sponsors all coming from China and Russia.

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

The regional program also offers four sponsor slots for each of Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North America and South America.

FIFA says it is ''currently in discussions with various companies in the five regions.''

It replaces the national supporter category which sold eight packages to Brazilian companies for the 2014 World Cup and just six in South Africa for 2010.

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