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Sponsors decry FIFA 'scandal'

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 02:17

May 31 - Emirates airline is the latest FIFA sponsor to express disappointment with the corruption scandal that has engulfed world soccer's governing body. Matt Cowan reports.

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Big name sponsors pay top dollar to be associated with soccer's World Cup, but as ugly allegations of corruption swirl around the global showcase of the so-called beautiful game, some are openly airing their displeasure. Emirates Airline is the latest backer to express concen saying it, like football fans around the world, is disappointed with the issues that are currently surrounding the administration of the sport." Coca-cola and Adidas have already chimed in with their misgivings. The President of world soccer's governing body FIFA Sepp Blatter has been defiant: SOUNDBITE: FIFA PRESIDENT SEPP BLATTER, SAYING (English): "Crisis, what is a crisis?" Allegations of cash for votes corruption hit both the World Cup bidding process and campaign to determine FIFA's future leadership. Blatter may have little time for journalists asking tough questions, but sportswriter Mihir Bose says the voices of the sponsors will be harder to ignore. SOUNDBITE: Mihir Bose, Sportswriter, saying (English): "When people say 'oh, you're a sponsor of FIFA, isn't that a corrupt organisation?' that is when the sponsors will turn around and say sorry, we don't want to be associated with this - it's giving us a bad name that's when FIFA will have to stand up and say we have to change, we cannot live in this parallel fantasy world where the world moves in one way and we move in a completely different way." England's Football Association is urging the postponement of Sepp Blatter's unopposed re-election to the body he's run since 1998 and will abstain if it does go ahead, as expected. The former director of the FA David Davies says the sponsors may ultimately posses greater leverage. SOUNDBITE: David Davies, former Executive Director of The Football Association saying (English) "Those sponsors are very important to Mr Blatter and FIFA and World Cup, not just the World Cup, but to youth tournaments, women's tournaments that FIFA runs and of course to Mr. Blatter personally where the millions of pounds in profits that comes in from the sponsors then is, some of the profits go out to particularly the smaller nations around the world and they're very grateful for that money." The only way Blatter will not be re-elected on Wednesday is if the FIFA Congress proposes and passes a motion to call off the vote with the support of 75 percent of voting delegates. That is unlikely to happen as while Blatter may not be able to connect with fans, he is highly skilled at talking to the only audience that really matters -- the voting delegates at the Congress. Matt Cowan, Reuters

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Sponsors decry FIFA 'scandal'

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 02:17