FIFA denies corruption allegations ending SONY and Emirates sponsorships

The international governing body of soccer has many sponsors but only six are listed on the FIFA website as official partners of the organization: Adidas, Coca Cola, Hyundai, Visa, Emirates Airlines and Sony. These sponsors have helped FIFA generate $350 million in annual sponsorship this year.

Source: Reuters
Source: Reuters

Following the recent scandals involving allegations of corruption and bribery concerning the locations of 2018 and 2022 World Cups two of the major sponsors, Emirates Airlines and Sony, have decided to the terminate its partnerships with FIFA.

Two weeks ago, Emirates Airlines announced that it would not renew its contract with FIFA.  Although it is alleged that it was due to the recent FIFA scandal, Emirates spokesperson, Boutros Boutros, claims that the company was considering ending its contract back in 2011 because of corruption in the system. At that time Mohamed Bin Hammam, a FIFA president candidate, was investigated for offering envelopes filled with $40,000 to FIFA members in the Caribbean who agreed to vote for him to become the next president of the organization. Emirates had become a FIFA partner in 2006 with a $195 million contract.

On Tuesday, Sony joined Emirates and announced it will let its deal expire at the end of 2014. Sony had also become a FIFA partner in 2006 with a contract worth $280 million. Although the officials from Sony electronics would not comment on the matter, the timing of the announcement should little to no doubt about why Sony ended the partnership.

However FIFA secretary general, Jerome Valcke, insisted in a press conference on Tuesday that the two corporate sponsors did not end their deal to protest against the recent FIFA allegations. He mentioned that Emirates had decided to terminate the relationship in 2012 because they did not want to be associated with global events. But the organization gave no comment about Sony’s reasoning. He acknowledged that FIFA needs to rebuild it’s current reputation and that this would take them years to do.

FIFA’s other partners, Coca Cola and Adidas have also responded to the recent corruption allegations saying they were disappointed and were planning to discuss the report directly with FIFA. Coca Cola has been FIFA’s partner since 1974 and it’s current contract lasts until 2022 and pays the organization $117 million over a four year period. Adidas’ contract lasts until 2030 and pays $149 over a four year period.

These figures show just how important sponsors are to the world’s most watched sporting event. It would be interesting to see what two corporate brands would replace Sony and Emirates as official partners of soccer’s governing body. One thing is for sure, If FIFA continues to degrade its image, the less attractive the future partnership deals will become.

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