FIFA sponsor Coca-Cola Co. said the charges had “tarnished the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup and we have repeatedly expressed our concerns about these serious allegations”.
While no major sponsors indicated they would cut ties to Fifa, several of the companies voiced concerns about the long- simmering controversy.
But none of the sponsors, whose funding is essential to FIFA but whose marketing efforts risk being undermined by the cloud from the latest football scandal, went so far as to withdraw its sponsorship of the sport.
Visa issued a similarly worded statement in November, when it told FIFA to “act accordingly and take swift action” after criticism of bidding for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. “We are in contact with FIFA on this matter”.
“It is important that FIFA makes changes now,” read a statement released by Visa. “That form of corruption can be the most damaging”.
There are secondary sponsors, too, such as Budweiser and McDonald’s, who paid to be involved at the last World Cup through selling their wares at grounds during the tournament. “We will continue to monitor the situation very closely”.
It was not a good day to be a World Cup sponsor.
“We expect all of our partners to maintain strong ethical standards and operate with transparency,” said Budweiser, the United States beer unit of Belgian brewing giant AB InBev.
FIFA was under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, a probe that led to indictments of nine officials and five corporate executives for racketeering conspiracy and corruption. However, there may be no more despicable allegation against FIFA than their backing of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the human rights violations that are taking place to prepare the nation for the event.
The balance between wanting a squeaky-clean image and getting access to soccer’s huge global fan base presents a quandary for international brands. World Cup sponsor Visa joined the chorus of saber rattlers lambasting FIFA and threatened to abandon its deal with the organization if it failed to weed out corruption in its ranks. Allegations of blood- doping followed cyclist Lance Armstrong for more than a decade before Nike Inc. and others dropped him in 2012. “If just individual brands start breaking ranks, that’s one thing,” Currie said. “I expect that sponsors will show restraint until the story plays out a bit more”.
“So it will be very interesting to see how they (sponsors) react”.
A group of illustrators may have delivered the most powerful message yet in protest of FIFA and the labor abuse in Qatar. Swiss authorities arrested executives at a hotel and searched the organization’s headquarters in a series of dawn raids in Zurich. To start with, he said Friday’s FIFA presidential election should be postponed and the current leader, Sepp Blatter, should be urged not to run again.
“These matters are for FIFA to investigate,” SBS said in a statement, before expressing how “thrilled” it was to be exclusively broadcasting the “2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup that “is only days away””.