“Our disappointment and concern with FIFA in light of today’s developments is profound,” said the Visa statement. “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…. 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.”
Coca-Cola said in a statement it had “repeatedly” expressed its concerns about allegations against FIFA and said “this lengthy controversy has tarnished the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup.”
McDonald’s, Adidas, Hyundai and Anheuser-Busch also said they were concerned and monitoring the situation, Reuters reported.
According to the Financial Times, FIFA earns about 90 percent of its revenue from selling TV, marketing and licensing rights to sponsors. It quoted one brand consultant, Dean Crutchfield, as suggesting that sponsors might try to renegotiate contracts in light of the scandal.
Some sponsors, including Castrol and Johnson & Johnson, had already chosen not to sign contracts for the 2018 World Cup in Russia because of reports of corruption in the bidding process, the FT said.
But Reuters said, “World Cup sponsors are in an awkward position … because they are under pressure from consumers to distance themselves from any corruption, but such sponsorships are lucrative in the long term.”
Rob Prazmark, president of 21 Sports & Entertainment Marketing Group, a global sports and event sales agency, told Reuters the major sponsors were unlikely to pull their sponsorships altogether.
“These sponsors put a lot of money into associating with the World Cup,” Prazmark said. “They’ll give them a little bit of time to get their house in order.”
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