Alfa-Bank has been appointed as a regional partner of the FIFA World Cup ©FIFA

Russia's largest private commercial bank has been unveiled as the first ever "Regional Supporter" for the 2018 FIFA World Cup by football's world governing body today.

Alfa-Bank, the Moscow-based giants now operating in seven countries, was announced into the role today during a special event in the Russian capital.

It marks an "important milestone" in FIFA's commercial strategy, a statement proclaimed.

As a Regional Supporter for Europe, Alfa-Bank will activate sponsorship initiatives around both the World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 across Russia and the European continent, where it has 745 offices and branches. 

They will also support FIFA on a number of ticketing-related projects with the aim of enhancing services to fans.

“We are delighted that Alfa-Bank is joining our team of Commercial Affiliates for the 2018 FIFA World Cup as the first-ever European Regional Supporter," said FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura.

"The staging of the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup requires many banking services, not just for the fans but also for the organisers, so it is very important for us to be able to count on the expertise and vast network of Alfa-Bank in Russia. 

"We look forward to working with them in the delivery of these tournaments.”

Alfa-Bank head Petr Aven (left) pictured with Russian President Vladimir Putin ©Getty Images
Alfa-Bank head Petr Aven (left) pictured with Russian President Vladimir Putin ©Getty Images

Others attending the ceremony include Petr Aven, chairman of the Board of Directors of ABH Holdings S.A and a member of Alfa-Bank’s Board of Directors, as well as the bank's chief executive Alexey Marey and chairman Andrei Sokolov.

Russian Presidential Aide Igor Levitin, Russia 2018 chief executive Alexey Sorokin and FIFA’s marketing director Thierry Weil were also present.

Up to four Regional Supporter packages could be rolled-out for each of the five global regions: Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East and Africa as well as Asia, FIFA said.

They have observed a "growing interest" in this new regional sponsorship approach, which offers companies that "do not necessarily want to enter into global sponsorship packages a chance to be part of the FIFA World Cup and benefit from a significant regional presence". 

This will ensure that the World Cup has the potential to reach an even broader target group through the support of a wider selection of blue-chip companies, they hope.

“The main focus of our partnership with FIFA is to contribute to delivering a successful FIFA World Cup in Russia and providing the highest levels of banking services to football fans,” Aven added. 

“Alfa-Bank is certain that our new partnership with FIFA is a winning formula for our existing clients, many of whom are football fans, who use our services. 

"Being a Regional Supporter offers Alfa-Bank the opportunity to acquire new customers via the extension of our current outstanding services to the many football fans attending the tournament.”

The announcement comes on the same day as Russia's hosting of all sporting events could be under fire due to the release of a report on state-sponsored doping at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.