Fifa’s difficulties are only getting worse as reports today suggest Sony is planning to drop its sponsorship of world football’s governing body. Sources told Reuters that the Japanese electronics giant would end the relationship, which has lasted eight years and cost ¥33bn (£178m), as it looks to ‘prioritize its restructuring efforts,’ although Sony is yet to confirm this.
Fifa has been feeling the heat from sponsors lately as ongoing controversy over its handling of the Qatar world cup bid corruption allegations rumbles on. Michael Garcia, the American tasked with investigating claims the selection process was rigged has continued to reiterate his calls for the entire report he prepared to be released.
Earlier this month Emirates airline announced it would not be renewing its sponsorship of the 2018 and 2022 world cups. It initially cited ‘an evaluation of FIFA's contract proposal which did not meet Emirates' expectations,’ but an executive was later quoted by reporters as implying the allegations were a consideration.
On Sunday it was reported that another big backer, Coca-Cola, was unhappy with the situation. ‘Anything that detracts from the mission and ideals of the Fifa World Cup is a concern to us,’ a spokesperson told the Sunday Times. ‘The current conflicting perspectives regarding the investigation are disappointing. Our expectation is that this will be resolved quickly in a transparent and efficient manner.’
Adidas and McDonald’s have also expressed concerns, although the former recently renewed its sponsorship until 2030. With his battle to be reelected president next year fast approaching, Sepp Blatter will be glancing nervously at Visa and Hyundai, two of Fifa’s other key partners, as the fallout continues.