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Top-tier sponsors Coca Cola, Visa pressure FIFA to undertake sweeping reforms

Tuesday, May 31st 2011 - 22:52 UTC
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President Sepp Blatter's faces unopposed re-election Wednesday
President Sepp Blatter's faces unopposed re-election Wednesday

Top-tier sponsors Visa Inc and Emirates Airlines added to pressure on FIFA to undertake sweeping reform, as England urged the postponement of President Sepp Blatter's unopposed re-election.

The two companies joined fellow FIFA partners Coca-Cola and Adidas in expressing disquiet at the recent wave of corruption allegations, which have included claims of bribery in the presidential election campaign and in last year's World Cup vote.

“The current situation is not good for the game and we ask that FIFA take all necessary steps to resolve the concerns that have been raised,” Visa Europe said in a statement that means four of FIFA's six major sponsors have now expressed worries about the current situation.

That situation has been widely referred to as the worst crisis the game has faced but Blatter, the 75-year-old Swiss who has run soccer's world governing body since 1998, has been downplaying the problem as he prepares to be voted in for a final four-year term at FIFA's Congress on Wednesday.

“Crisis? Where is the crisis?,” Blatter asked reporters in a bad-tempered news conference on Monday.

English football's governing body, the FA, responded to that appearance by asking other nations to join it in seeking to delay the vote and provide an opportunity for another candidate to stand against the incumbent.

Scotland backed up the English stance but many federations asked for their response, including the United States, declined to comment.

The only way Blatter will not be re-elected on Wednesday is if the FIFA Congress proposes and passes a motion to call off the vote with the support of 75% of voting delegates.

That is unlikely to happen as while Blatter may not be able to connect with fans, he is highly skilled at talking to the only audience that really matters to his future -- the voting delegates at the Congress.

Since Blatter became president in 1998 the governing body has grown rich thanks to its ability to generate billions of dollars from television rights to major tournaments as well as sponsorship deals with major corporations.

Not all of them are happy, but none has issued a public ultimatum demanding change.

Emirates airline expressed its concern saying it was “disappointed with the issues that are currently surrounding the administration of the sport”

Earlier, Coca-Cola said the allegations of corruption were “distressing and bad for the sport.” German sportswear maker Adidas also said the controversy had hurt soccer.
Visa's call for FIFA to take “all necessary steps” stopped short of calling for any specific action.


Top Comments

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  • geo

    Scotland back up the English stance but many others...............

    is Scotland the ally of England ?

    Jun 01st, 2011 - 02:17 pm 0
  • Artillero601

    Geo, you make me laugh ....

    Jun 01st, 2011 - 06:36 pm 0
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