VISA calls for swift FIFA response

Published: Thursday 28th May 2015 by Tom Drinkall

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World Cup sponsor VISA has threatened to end its partnership with FIFA over the latest crisis to engulf the world governing body.

VISA said its “disappointment and concern” was profound and called for “swift and immediate” action in the wake of a wave of arrests of football officials – including two FIFA vice-presidents – in Zurich on Wednesday on bribery, fraud and money-laundering charges following an FBI investigation.

A host of fellow sponsors have issued statements after a dramatic day in both Switzerland and the United States on Wednesday, but VISA’s was the most strongly-worded of the lot.

A statement from VISA said: “Our disappointment and concern with FIFA in light of (Wednesday’s) developments is profound.

“As a sponsor, we expect FIFA to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its organisation. This starts with rebuilding a culture with strong ethical practices in order to restore the reputation of the games for fans everywhere.

“VISA became a sponsor of FIFA because the World Cup is one of the few truly global sporting events with the power to unite people from around the world through a common love of football.

“Our sponsorship has always focused on supporting the teams, enabling a great fan experience, and inspiring communities to come together and celebrate the spirit of competition and personal achievement – and it is important that FIFA makes changes now, so that the focus remain on these going forward. Should FIFA fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship.”

Long-time sponsor Coca-Cola said the “serious allegations” had “tarnished” the World Cup.

A statement read: “This lengthy controversy has tarnished the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup and we have repeatedly expressed our concerns about these serious allegations.

“We expect FIFA to continue to address these issues thoroughly. FIFA has stated that it is responding to all requests for information and we are confident it will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities.”

On Wednesday adidas said it was ” fully committed to creating a culture that promotes the highest standards of ethics and compliance” and expects the same from its partners.

The company added that it encouraged FIFA “to continue to establish and follow transparent compliance standards in everything they do”.

A spokesman for Budweiser said: “We expect all of our partners to maintain strong ethical standards and operate with transparency.”

South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai, a t op-tier World Cup sponsor, said it was “extremely concerned” by the allegations.

” As a company that places the highest priority on ethical standards and transparency, Hyundai Motor is extremely concerned about the legal proceedings being taken against certain FIFA executives and will continue to monitor the situation closely,” it said in a statement.

A spokesman for McDonald’s, a second-tier sponsor, said: ” McDonald’s takes matters of ethics and corruption very seriously and the news from the US Department of Justice is extremely concerning. We are in contact with FIFA on this matter. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely.”

Published: Thursday 28th May 2015 by Tom Drinkall

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