DESPITE the scandal surrounding FIFA, football’s governing body is due to open its annual congress on Thursday May 28. But warnings have come from sponsors, such as Coca-Cola, Adidas and Visa.
Visa, one of FIFA’s prime sponsors, has threatened to review its relationship with football’s world governing body after the arrest of senior officials on corruption charges, stating that its “disappointment and concern with FIFA in light of today’s developments is profound… we expect FIFA to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues”
Coca Cola said: “This lengthy controversy has tarnished the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup.” Adidas added that it was “fully committed to creating a culture that promotes the highest standards of ethics and compliance, and we expect the same from our partners.”
UEFA, the European football body, has yet to decide whether to boycott Friday’s vote for the next FIFA president or not.
On Wednesday, seven top FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich, following reports of corruption. On the same day FIFA announced a ban from football-related activity for all those involved in the US prosecution.
But it said the election on Friday, in which FIFA president Sepp Blatter is seeking a fifth term, would go ahead, despite increased pressure for him to step down.
Commenting a day after the arrests, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told the BBC there was “something deeply wrong at the heart of FIFA and international football needs to reform, needs to get its act together.”
Mr Blatter, who has not been named in the investigations, issued a statement on the US case, saying: “Such misconduct has no place in football and we will ensure that those who engage in it are put out of the game.”
Blatter is due to make his first appearance since the arrests at FIFA’s annual congress in the Swiss city of Zurich today (Thursday).