BP and Budweiser join growing list of World Cup sponsors calling for a probe into Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid


Mohamed bin Hammam is at the center of the corruption charges. (Shirley Bahadur/AP)

The list of companies voicing their concerns over Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid is growing. Along with Sony, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa and Hyundai — five of the six “partner sponsors” — oil giant BP and Budweiser have also joined the scrum demanding a probe into allegations of corruptions surfaced by London’s Sunday Times last week.

A load of leaked documents allege disgraced ex-FIFA executive committee member Mohamed bin Hammam made $5 million in direct payments to secure support from African soccer officials. A second batch, released Sunday, claim bin Hamman used his contacts in the Qatari royal family and the government to arrange deals and favors to ensure the Qatari bid.

Adidas and Sony were the first to demand a probe late last week.

“The negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners,” Adidas said in a statement, the Guardian reports.

And Sony spokesman George Boyd told Bloomberg:

“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.”

Then Coca-Cola, Visa and Hyundai joined in over the weekend.

Coca-Cola said, “Anything that detracts from the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup is a concern to us.”

Visa said that the company “does not take part in the administration of sport,” adding via Itv.com that they “expect FIFA will take the appropriate actions to respond to the report and its recommendations.”

And Hyundai demanded a “thorough investigation,” reports SkyNews. This means a total of five out of six major World Cup sponsors have expressed dismay over the allegations of corruption. Only Emirates has stayed quite.

But now the complaints are trickling down to other sponsors, including BP and Budweiser, both of whom released statementsMonday calling for a probe.

“We are concerned about the situation and are monitoring developments; we expect FIFA to take all necessary steps to address the issue,” brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev said in a statement to Reuters. Its component Budweiser is signed on to sponsor the World Cup until 2022.

BP, meanwhile, whose Castrol brand is sponsoring Brazil’s World Cup that’s set to kick off Thursday, said Monday (via Reuters) that it expects FIFA to deal with the issue in a “right and proper manner.”

The latest statements from sponsors come on the day when independent FIFA investigator Michael Garcia was supposed to submit a report about the Qatari bid. The report is now set to be released in about six weeks — well after this year’s World Cup ends, Reuters reports.

The mounting evidence may lead to Qatar’s bid to be rescinded in favor of re-vote, which could land the 2022 World Cup back in the United States. In that case, the sponsors would most like stick on as planned.

“Hyundai Motor supports football (soccer) as a sport that brings people together all over the world and firmly believes the World Cup is the ideal platform to fulfill this objective,” said a spokesperson.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.

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Marissa Payne · June 9, 2014