Budweiser is to sponsor the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

The announcement comes as local brewing giant SABMiller was said to have failed to respond to a request to meet FIFA to discuss potential sponsorship of the event. Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser brand was subsequently given the sponsorship deal.

According to local reports, FIFA had waited three months for a reply from SABMiller before having discussions with Anheuser-Busch, who have sponsored the World Cup since 1986. 

A spokesperson for SABMiller in South Africa told just-drinks today (23 February): "Our holding company, SABMiller, said last night that it was not aware of any direct approach by FIFA."

The spokesperson added that SABMiller did not view the World Cup sponsorship as an appropriate opportunity, as it does not have any international brands which sponsor football.

SABMiller, which has been deeply involved in sponsoring South Africa's professional soccer league since the 1960s, has been the main sponsor of the national team since its readmission to the international fold more than a decade ago.

The company was also a key backer of South Africa's 2006 and 2010 World Cup bids.

When contacted by just-drinks today, a spokesman at SABMiller's London head office said: "We were not aware of any direct approach by FIFA.

"It's a US$100m sponsorship deal, so to get the most out of it, we'd need to have international brands which already sponsor football," he added.