International

FIFA's Asian partners speak out

2014-06-09 10:16
FIFA investigator Michael Garcia (AFP)
FIFA investigator Michael Garcia (AFP)
Cape Town - FIFA's Asian commercial partners said Monday they expected a "thorough investigation" into corruption allegations over Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid, reflecting concerns that their multi-million dollar sponsorship deals might be tainted.

Analysts say official statements from some of football's biggest financial backers reveal the extent of corporate concern over the charges of bribes and backhanders.

After Adidas and Visa spoke out at the weekend, FIFA's two top-tier "partner" sponsors in Asia, Hyundai and Sony, both underlined the importance of an exhaustive enquiry.

"We are confident that FIFA is taking these allegations seriously and that the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee will conduct a thorough investigation," the South Korean carmaker said.

"Hyundai Motor supports football as a sport that brings people together all over the world and firmly believes the World Cup is the ideal platform to fulfil this objective."

Sony had a similar reaction to the allegations that former Qatari football boss Mohamed bin Hammam paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure support for Qatar's deeply controversial victory in a 2010 FIFA vote.

"We expect these allegations to be investigated appropriately, and we continue to expect FIFA to adhere to its principles of integrity, ethics and fair play across all aspects of its operations," the Japanese electronics giant said.

The tone was mild, but FIFA's corporate backers rarely speak out and the fact that they issued statements at all pointed, analysts said, to the level of concern.

"It reflects worries that the value of (the) World Cup itself could be harmed," said Munehiko Harada, professor of sports management at Waseda University.

"It's difficult to see what political moves are taking place behind the scene. But now the corporates have spoken, FIFA will have to respond," Harada said.

The two Asian conglomerates make up the six FIFA full partners, along with Adidas, Coca-Cola, Emirates and Visa.

Together they account for hundreds of millions of dollars in World Cup revenues.

Adidas said Sunday it was confident that the matter was being dealt with "as a priority," while Visa said it would continue to monitor the internal FIFA investigation.

FIFA investigator Michael Garcia, a former US federal prosecutor, is to finish his inquiry into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes on Tuesday. But his report is not expected until mid-July, when the World Cup finals finish.

British newspaper The Sunday Times has said it has obtained millions of emails, documents and bank transfers showing that bin Hammam paid over $5 million (3.67m euros) to win support in the bidding process.

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy insists that it won the bid "on its merits".

A spokesman for another major World Cup sponsor in Asia, Yingli Solar of China, said it had no immediate comment on the corruption allegations.

Read more on:    fifa  |  international  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
Vote

Is Louis van Gaal the right man to restore the glory days at United?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.