FIFA sponsor Visa has broken cover to threaten to pull its financial backing unless the sporting body takes immediate steps to assure the sport that it is genuinely seeking to root out corruption from within its ranks.
This follows similar sentiments expressed by Adidas, Budweiser and McDonald’s who have all moved to distance themselves from football's governing body in the wake of several of its executives being arrested by the FBI.
Sponsors misgivings have been prompted by yesterday’s (27 May) dramatic raid on a Zurich hotel in which a host of top FIFA officials were arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes and kickbacks.
In a statement Via said: “Our disappointment and concern with FIFA in light of today’s developments is profound. As a sponsor, we expect FIFA to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its organization. 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.”