FIFA sponsors speak out over Qatar World Cup bid allegations

Four of FIFA's six main sponsors have expressed concern about the allegations of corruption and bribery surrounding the award of the 2022 World Cup to the oil-rich Gulf state of Qatar.

FIFA sponsors speak out over Qatar World Cup bid allegations

Adidas, Sony, Visa and Coca-Cola have all commented on the situation, following a second week of damaging revelations in The Sunday Times regarding the activities of former FIFA executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam.

Emirates Airlines and Hyundai-Kia Motors are the two sponsors that have not yet commented.

Adidas, which has the longest commitment – through to the 2030 World Cup – was the most vocal in its criticism. "The negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners," the sports brand said.

Both Sony and Visa stressed that they expected FIFA to take the allegations seriously, with the former stating: "As a FIFA partner, we expect these allegations to be investigated appropriately.

"We continue to expect FIFA to adhere to its principles of integrity, ethics and fair play across all aspects of its operation."

Visa said that it expected FIFA to "take the appropriate actions to respond to the report and its recommendations". "We will continue to monitor its internal investigation," the company added.

Of the four sponsors to have commented, Coca-Cola was the most circumspect. "Anything that detracts from the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup is a concern to us," the company said. "But we are confident that FIFA is taking these allegations very seriously and is investigating them thoroughly."

FIFA’s own investigation into the award of the 2022 World Cup is being led by former New York attorney Michael Garcia, who will submit his report to the FIFA ethics committee by mid-July.

The subject of the Qatar 2022 World Cup is the proverbial elephant in the room for many London-based sports PR agencies, the majority of which have declined to comment on the damaging revelations being made by The Sunday Times.

However, one agency source said: "The organising committee for the Qatar World Cup would say that they followed FIFA’s guidelines to the letter and Garcia is after individuals so his report will make no odds to the organising committee.

"It’s strange that FIFA has let this drag on so long though – I’m pretty sure the executive committee would have wanted [Garcia’s work] done a bit quicker so the agenda can move on to football rather than have this dark cloud hanging over the 2014 World Cup.

"It will be personally disappointing for it that the ongoing line of questioning at most news conferences in Brazil attended by anyone from the FIFA exco will be about the 2022 World Cup [but] it will just play those with a straight bat and try to use Brazil to move the agenda on and swing it back to football."

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