Seven things PR pros need to know on Wednesday morning, 5.27.2015

FIFA in crisis; Hunter PR opens London office; 2016 update; Tech brands dominate 'most valuable' rankings.

FIFA chief Sepp Blatter. (Image via Wikimedia Commons).
FIFA chief Sepp Blatter. (Image via Wikimedia Commons).

1. International soccer body FIFA is facing a grave crisis after US authorities charged 14 people, including nine soccer officials, with orchestrating a long-running kickback scheme to enrich themselves. In a separate inquiry, Swiss authorities are conducting a criminal investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively. The election of FIFA’s next president on Friday will go on as scheduled, the group said.

Will Qatar, which is already under fire for labor conditions at World Cup stadium sites, lose the 2022 tournament? That depends on what the investigation turns up, analysts told CNBC.

In an early Wednesday press conference, FIFA spokesman Walter de Gregorio said organization president Sepp Blatter, who was not arrested, is "calm" and that it was no surprise officials were taken into custody.

2. Hunter Public Relations has opened a London office led by MD Alex Conway. The new location is supporting global account work for its longtime client, McIlhenny Company’s Tabasco.

3. The State Department has scheduled the next release of Hillary Clinton’s emails from her time as secretary of state for June 30; Critics say it should act more quickly. In other 2016 news, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum will kick off his bid for the Republican nomination on Wednesday with an event near his childhood stomping grounds. The Washington Post took an in-depth look at how the Obama administration has used digital media to connect with young constituents in new ways.

4. Tech brands dominated the most recent edition of WPP and Millward Brown’s Brand Z rankings, released Wednesday morning, with Apple, Google, and Microsoft cited as the top three most valuable brands. There was big news about the media that covers the tech sector on Tuesday night, as well. Vox Media has bought Re/code, the site launched about a year ago by former Wall Street Journal heavyweights Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg.

5. Hackers have obtained the tax returns of 100,000 people by using stolen data to gain access to an application on the IRS’ website. Lawmakers including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) are demanding answers from the tax-collecting service.

6. Penn State University has shut down a fraternity for three years after an inquiry found routine hazing and sexual harassment. Members also posted nude pictures of women on a secret Facebook page, the college found.

7. Athletes behaving badly, media relations edition. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick apologized after he posted a photo to Instagram that seemed to make light of devastating flooding in the Houston region. Tennis great Venus Williams was fined $3,000 for skipping a French Open press conference after losing in the first round. Philadelphia Phillies GM Rueben Amaro said he was sorry for commenting that the team’s fans "don’t understand the game" while discussing the franchise’s long-term strategy. 

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