KEIR RADNEDGE in DOHA: The World Cup sponsorship door has swung open for more possible Qatari involvement in international football after Emirates confirmed it will not renew its partnership with FIFA.

Speculation will inevitably turn to an opportunity for Qatar Airways to enhance the Gulf state’s involvement in the World Cup whose finals are already heading in that specific direction in 2024.

Emirates has always been considered as one of the two likely sponsorship departures, albeit for different reasons than loss-making electronics corporation Sony.

The airline believes there is little further gain in sticking with FIFA after a $100m World Cup investment over the past four years and some senior officials are understood to have been irritated by the questions asked of it in the wake of the 2018-2022 World Cup bid scandal.

A statement said: ”Emirates can confirm that a decision has been made not to renew the sponsorship agreement with FIFA past 2014. This decision was made following an evaluation of FIFA’s contract proposal which did not meet Emirates’ expectations.”

Emirates sponsors six top European clubs including Arsenal, AC Milan, and European champions Real Madrid.

Other, continuing, World Cup sponsors include Adidas, Coca-Cola,  and Visa. The full six-strong package is reported to be worth $180m to FIFA.