NYON: Alipay, the Chinese conglomerate which describes itself as the world’s leading payment and lifestyle platform, has signed up as a sponsor with UEFA.

According to a statement from the European federation the deal “will include all UEFA national team football competitions from 2018 to 2026.” That wraps Alipay, from billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial Services Group, into a sponsorship including Euro 2020 and 2024, as well as the UEFA Nations League finals.

UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, attending the official signing in Shanghai, said: “Alipay is at the forefront of digital payments and in association with its global partners, Alipay has unique connections with over 900 million users. We believe the partnership will further innovate the way in which UEFA engages with football fans around the world.”

Alipay’s first four-year cycle as a UEFA national team competitions sponsor will see them involved in a total of eight competitions, spanning 420 matches and having an estimated total live audience of 7.4 billion people.

The deal is reportedly worth around $200m.

The UEFA statement added: “With over 700 million active users in China, Alipay will also become UEFA’s official global digital wallet provider and the organisation’s official global FinTech partner.

“As global leaders in the field of digital finance technology and mobile payment, Alipay and Ant Financial aim to bring digital innovation to football fans, enhance their onsite experience and provide seamless payment and other services to fans in Europe and across the world.”

Alipay becomes UEFA’s third national team sponsor, which will feature at UEFA EURO 2020, after Volkswagen and Booking.com signed deals until 2022. Sister cnmpany Alibaba is a major sponsor of world federation FIFA.

In a further financial step up, UEFA has agreed a $280m deal with Electronic Arts for a Champions League esports game.