Sponsors Admit Concerns amid Fifa Arrests Controversy


Several key sponsors of Fifa have admitted they have serious concerns about the organisation at the head of world football after allegations of racketeering, fraud and money laundering.  One of them, Coca-Cola, said that the World Cup had been tarnished by a lengthy controversy.

The concerns following the arrest on Wednesday of seven top officials in Zurich who were part of a group of 14 indicted.  The arrests has led the European body Uefa to schedule a meeting on Friday to decide if to boycott the presidency vote.


Fifa announced that they had put a provisional ban on football related activity for all eleven of the people who were named in the US prosecution.  But it also said that the vote on Friday to see if Sepp Blatter could win a fifth term as president of the organisation would still go ahead.

Mr Blatter himself has not been named in the investigations and issued a statement saying that such misconduct had no place in the game and that Fifa would ensure that those who were engaged in the activities would have no place in the game.

Swiss prosecutors have opened a separate investigation into the bidding process for the World Cup tournaments of 2018 awarded to Russia and 2022 to Qatar.


Key sponsors including Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa, Sony, Gazprom and Hyundai have all put pressure on Fifa regarding the corruption allegations.  Coca-Cola gave a lengthy statement saying that the controversy had tarnished the ‘mission and ideals’ of the Fifa World Cup and that they have repeatedly expressed their concerns about the serious allegations.

Adidas added that it was fully committed to creating a culture that promotes the highest standards of ethics and compliance and that the company expected the same standards in its partners.  Visa also issued a statement regarding their disappointment and concern with the organisation and that they expected Fifa to take swift and immediate steps to address the issues.

A second-tier sponsor, McDonald, said that the latest developments were ‘extremely concerning’ and that it was in contact with Fifa and monitoring the situation.  The main sponsors of Fifa are given exposure in stadiums and have the right to use the Fifa trademark in their advertising.

Uefa, the European governing body, handed down a stinging rebuke to Fifa saying that the events were ‘a disaster’ and tarnished the image of football at a whole while adding that corruption was deeply rooted within the culture of the organisation.


The people indicted in the US case are accused of accepting bribes and kickbacks that were worth more than $150 million over a 24-year period that started in 1991.  US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that Fifa executives had used their position to solicit bribes and had done so year after year, tournament after tournament.  The seven arrested in Zurich were vice presidents Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo; Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Rafael Esquivel and Jose Maria Marin, all of whom face extradition to the US.  The other seven subject to the ban were Jack Warner, Nicholas Leoz, Chuck Blazer and Daryll Warner.

Jack Warner, a former vice-president, is accused of soliciting $10 million in bribes from the South African government for the hosting of the 2010 World Cup.  An arrest warrant has been issued in his home nation of Trinidad and Tobago and he will appear in court for the US extradition hearing on 12th July.


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