BrandArena: World Cup Sponsors Criticize FIFA Over Corruption Probe

Thursday 27 November 2014

World Cup Sponsors Criticize FIFA Over Corruption Probe

Financial services company Visa has joined other key FIFA sponsors Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Adidas in voicing their concerns over the ongoing controversy surrounding the report into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Visa released a statement on its corporate Tumblr page: "We are troubled by the recent events surrounding FIFA. In our discusions we have clearly stated that greater transparency and more open, forthright communications is not only paramount, but the only way in which public trust in FIFA, and all that it represents, will be restored. It is our expectation that FIFA will act accordingly and take swift action to resolve these issues in a manner that is meaningful and visible to all".

According to reports, FIFA lodged a criminal complaint in Switzerland last week against unidentified people over the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, but stood by its conclusion that any wrongdoing was not enough to jeopardise the winning Russian and Qatari bids.

The action marks the first time the world football's governing body has sought to involve law enforcement in connection with its own 18-month investigation into the bids, which concluded earlier this month with an announcement it had found no reason to overturn the decisions to hold the cup in Russia in 2018 and in Qatar in 2022.

In January, Visa became the fifth of FIFA’s six top-tier commercial affiliates to have committed to both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, following Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai-Kia and Anheuser-Busch. In November 2013, sportswear company Adidas extended its long-term partnership until 2030.

Sony and Emirates moves not due to FIFA World Cup bidding probe

Earlier this month, the Emirates airline confirmed it would not renew its top-tier sponsorship contract with FIFA, stating that the terms of a proposed extension did not meet its expectations. Sony has also decided not to renew its mega-deal with the soccer governing body.

The secretary general of FIFA Jerome Valcke has insisted that electronics company Sony and the Emirates airline are not ending their commercial partnership deals with football’s global governing body due to the fall-out of the World Cup bidding controversy.

According to the Associated Press news agency, Valcke admitted that it will take “years to rebuild our reputation,” but added after a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) law-making organisation that “we are doing a great job.”

Emirates will not renew its partnership deal with FIFA, while Valcke said he “would be surprised” if Sony extended its deal beyond the end of this year. “Both Sony and Emirates have nothing to do with the situation we are facing these last days,” Valcke said. “I know that football is still a very strong product and I am not really concerned with FIFA's finances for the future.”

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