The troubled sports marketing company, ISMM, which until recently held the marketing rights for the next two football world cups, has been declared officially bankrupt by a Swiss court.
The decision clears the way for the company to be wound up.
The presiding judge linked his decision to the failure of the planned takeover of ISMM by France's Vivendi Universal.
ISMM-ISL was the world number one sports marketing company. But the firm, set up in 1982, made a number of bad investments, and had to file for bankruptcy after registering losses of more than SFr600 million ($343 million) last year.
It was given a breathing space after Vivendi expressed an interest in acquiring the group. However, Vivendi pulled out of the deal last Thursday, prompting the international football association, FIFA, to terminate its agreements with ISMM-ISL.
The rights to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups will now be sold by FIFA's new marketing subsidiary.
Germany's Kirch group, which already owns the European rights to the two championships, has 30 days to exercise an option. Kirch has indicated that it plans to sell the rights it already holds to the highest bidder, which has raised concerns that the event could be limited to broadcasts on restricted pay-per-view channels.
swissinfo with agencies
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