sports in the spotlight
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 7, 2011 10:01 AM
FIFA, the organizing body of world soccer, dug itself a massive PR hole this past spring when a cash-for-votes scandal was unearthed. It left Asia’s former soccer head Mohamed bin Hammam banned for life “after being accused of bribery during his failed attempt to become FIFA president,” according to Reuters.
Though bin Hammam has always denied the allegations, it doesn’t change that FIFA sponsor Emirates Airlines felt “overlooked” during the whole scandal and now is considering leaving when its contract runs out in 2014, Reuters reports.
"We are seriously thinking about not renewing our partnership with FIFA beyond 2014," said Boutros Boutros, the divisional senior vice president of corporate communications for Emirates, told Australia’s B&T Media. The comment took FIFA by surprise, according to Bloomberg.
Emirates’ partnership with FIFA, according to FIFA's website, "began at the 2006 FIFA World Cup when it became the first airline to be a sponsor of the prestigious sporting event. Following on from the success of the tournament in Germany, Emirates then cemented its status as an Official FIFA Partner up to and including the 2014 FIFA World Cup."
The company, which paid $195 million back in 2006 to be an official sponsor of FIFA for eight years, is now researching if the scandal affected its brand in any way, Reuters notes. Discussions about a new deal haven’t started yet between the two sides. Perhaps these comments will at least inspire some damage-control phone calls from the governing body’s main offices in Switzerland.
And separately, according to the BBC, a UK Parliamentary report has called on FIFA" to commission an independent investigation of the bidding processes for future World Cups." It seems British MPs are still "concerned that claims of serious misconduct over the process by which Russia and Qatar were awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups have not been taken seriously by football's world governing body."