Sponsors demand Fifa takes swift action

Adam Davy/PA Wire.
Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Worried that their reputations will be tarnished by their links to Fifa, major sponsors are demanding that football’s global governing body clean up its act, with Visa even warning it is prepared to jump ship.

Coca-Cola also made it clear it is unhappy with the scandals rocking the organisation it and others support with millions of dollars a year.

On Wednesday, seven officials were arrested at a hotel in Zurich while Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings into Fifa’s awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

Visa provided the most acute criticism, saying it expects the organisation to take “swift and immediate steps to address” its issues.

“This starts with rebuilding a culture with strong ethical practices in order to restore the reputation of the games for fans everywhere,” it said in a statement. “Should Fifa fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship.”

Coca-Cola said: “This lengthy controversy has tarnished the mission and ideals of the Fifa World Cup and we have repeatedly expressed our concerns about these serious allegations.”