​Exit Visa? Sponsors contemplate breaking FIFA ties amid bribery scandal

Ruters / Jason Reed

Ruters / Jason Reed

Visa Inc. may reconsider its sponsorship contract with FIFA if the latter does not immediately take prompt actions to remedy its reputation. Many other sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Adidas and McDonald’s could follow the lead.

“Our disappointment
and concern with FIFA in light of
developments is profound. As a sponsor, we expect FIFA to
take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its
said an official statement on the Visa
published Wednesday.

Visa urged FIFA to start
restoring its reputation in the eyes of football fans
“rebuilding a
culture with strong ethical practices.”
If the football organization fails
to do so, VISA will reassess the sponsorship, the statement

Visa Inc. was FIFA’s major partner at Brazil’s 2014 World Cup,
reportedly paying $25-$50 million per year, along with others
such as Emirates Airlines and Sony.

In 2014, the world’s biggest bank-card network extended its
contract with FIFA to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022
tournament in Qatar.

READ MORE: FIFA arrests in corruption probe

The partners are Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa, OAO Gazprom, Hyundai
Motor Co. and its Kia Motors Corp. affiliate, with Anheuser-Busch
InBev NV’s Budweiser and McDonald’s as second-tier sponsors of
the World Cup.

Visa is not the only company to contemplate tearing up its
agreement with FIFA.

“This lengthy controversy has tarnished the mission and
ideals of the FIFA World Cup,”
said Coca-Cola.

FIFA’s second-tier sponsor McDonald’s expressed its concern with
the latest developments, saying it was closely monitoring the

Adidas said it aims to establish a culture of the highest ethical
standards and expects the same from its partners.

On Wednesday, seven FIFA officials were detained in Zurich at the
request of US law enforcement. The Federal Court in Brooklyn
indicted 14 sports functionaries, including nine current
officials. Among them are FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb,
President of Costa Rica’s Football Federation Eduardo Li and FIFA
Development Officer Julio Rocha.

READ MORE: Red card! Swiss justice office freezes implicated
FIFA officials’ bank accounts

They are accused of systematically paying and agreeing to pay
over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks, going back to the
early 1990s.

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