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Oddly Enough

Sponsors pressure FIFA to take action

Thursday, May 28, 2015 - 02:32

Visa is calling on FIFA to take ''swift and immediate'' steps to address corruption claims. Other sponsors have expressed their disappointment, while consumers are threatening to boycott brands linked to FIFA. Ciara Lee reports.

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Act fast to restore your reputation - Visa's warning to FIFA in the wake of bribery and corruption charges against top officials. As sponsors line up to express concern about the scandal engulfing the world's most popular sport, Visa issued the strongest message yet. That's bad news for FIFA, whose contract with the financial tech giant alone is worth around 25 million dollars a year. The scandal involves nine of the body's top executives accused of raking in 150 million dollars on bribes over more than two decades. Kathleen Brooks from Forex.com says the implications for sponsors could be significant. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KATHLEEN BROOKS, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AT FOREX.COM, SAYING: "At the end of the day whether or not they renegotiate contracts, I think it is far too early to say. I think there is a good chance that we'll see big companies who really care about their own image actually think about moving their sponsorship elsewhere. So I think it won't just be about renegotiation, I think the whole think the whole of football could really suffer from this." FIFA received a total of $177 million in 2014 from its long-term partners and $131 million in World Cup sponsorship. Consumers have already taken to social media to threaten a boycott of brands associated with FIFA. Fast-food chain McDonald's and South Korean automaker Hyundai say they are monitoring the situation. German sportswear company Adidas and beverage company Coca-Cola have called on FIFA to resolve the controversy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KATHLEEN BROOKS, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AT FOREX.COM, SAYING: "If I was a lead sponsor, I would certainly wait to see the fallout. I would want to see punishment, I would want to see real change and I would want to see structural change. Probably change at the top as well before I would even think about renewing my sponsorship. If that doesn't happen, then I think the sponsors will have no choice but to go elsewhere." FIFA is one of the most powerful oganisations in the world, and makes billions of dollars in revenues. David Webber from the University of Warwick, says that makes the allegations all the more alarming. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR DAVID WEBBER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK, SAYING: "How much of that money could have been ploughed back in to developmental projects in places like South Africa and Brazil and so forth. But it instead ended up in the pockets and the slush funds of FIFA officials." But FIFA's main sponsors were already getting uneasy even before the latest revelations. Last week pushing FIFA to take seriously the issue of human rights for migrant workers in Qatar.

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Sponsors pressure FIFA to take action

Thursday, May 28, 2015 - 02:32