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FIFA sponsors have taken note of corruption allegations – is the added pressure good or bad?

Jun 8, 2014, 4:18 PM EDT


Visa, Sony, and adidas have all told FIFA they are keeping a close eye on the investigation into corruption surrounding the 2022 World Cup bid for Qatar.

“The negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners,” adidas, FIFA’s longest-serving sponsor said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Sony shook its finger and said they expect the allegations to be “investigated appropriately,” and Visa declared they expect FIFA to “take the appropriate actions” in its investigation.

While it sounds nice that those controlling the cash are up in arms about the situation too. However, it may not be all that good.

Under fire from those who provide $1.5 billion in revenue for FIFA and sensing the prospect of losing said money if news ends up proving negative, the governing body could feel increasing pressure to hide crucial information and present a clean report.

While the sponsors focus on due process, Visa’s statement holds the sense of an ultimatum: make us look bad, and we’ll make you look bad. That’s the way it’s always been.

So if FIFA does uncover foul play, which is a very likely prospect, they could be persuaded to cover much of it up under the motive that should they release truthful information, the financial damage could be severe.

Everyone wants justice, everyone except the sponsors.  The sponsors want good publicity, whether that involves justice or not. So which is better for the game?

  1. talgrath - Jun 8, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    At this point, I think the cat is out of the bag, the pressure from the sponsors makes it more likely a revote will be done, I think. I also think that a lot of FIFA members (who haven’t since been canned due to corruption) are having voter’s remorse; with the pressure from sponsors, fans and even their own organization members rising, I think that things are coming to a critical junction. FIFA will revote, i think, and all of the sudden they will find direct evidence of corruption; Qatar’s $5 million doesn’t stand up to the billions of dollars that the sponsors put in.

    • reformed2012 - Jun 8, 2014 at 9:40 PM

      Qatar is backed by billions of gallons of oil, not just $5 million. We will see how their financial strength scales up against adidas. VISA, Sony, McDonalds, Coca-Cola etc.

  2. josephurban - Jun 8, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    Qatar was ALWAYS a bad idea for a number of reasons. 1. Extreme heat. 2. Near centers of terrorist activity. 3. Treatment of workers is akin to a slave labor system. No rights. Can be beaten. . 4. Massive corruption. Any nation that values human rights should be boycotting these games.

  3. mknow406a - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    Seriously? This is all window dressing. How many people have DIED putting up stadiums? Now that backroom deals are made public, the sponsors are saying something? This is just leveraging to minimize backlash and nothing more. Otherwise they look completely complicit… which is what they’ve been about all of the human rights abuses that have been well documented all along…

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