International

Coca-Cola go flat on Blatter

2015-10-03 15:06
Sepp Blatter (File)

Lausanne - Sepp Blatter's arrival at football's world governing body FIFA coincided with the partnership with Coca-Cola but now the Atlanta-based soft drinks' giants are playing a significant role in the Swiss magnate's downfall.

Other top FIFA sponsors such as McDonald's, Visa and Budweiser have also called for the controversial 79-year-old to step down immediately from his post as president of the scandal-tainted body and Coca-Cola's initiative now heaps the pressure on Blatter.

The global brand became one of the first major sponsors of the World Cup in 1974 when former president Joao Havelange was in charge of a modest federation that comprised some ten employees and organised the World Cup, that has gone on to become the mega-event it is today, grossing billions of dollars.

FIFA and Coca-Cola extended their contract in 2005 and it will now run until at least 2022 for a fee that has not been disclosed.

Sports equipment manufacturers Adidas were also one of the early partners with FIFA but their support back in the 70's was limited to providing equipment with no financial aid.

Brazilian Havelange, who is now 99, and was in charge of FIFA, found just the man he was looking for, in the form of Longines employee Blatter who took up a role in public relations and was responsible for timing when he was just 38.

Blatter's influence convinced Coca-Cola to pay some $10 million, notably to sponsor the 1977 Youth World Cup in Tunisia and become the official sponsor of the 1978 World Cup that was held and won by Argentina.

The British company West Nally were also one of the investing pioneers and increased development in sponsorship of sporting events as well as contributing to the growth of a partnership with the International Olympic Committee ("TOP") along with Coca-Cola.

More than 40 years later and much has changed for FIFA, football and Blatter, who began his tenure as president in 1998 but has seen the body and his position rocked by recent revelations of corruption and scandal at the heart of the Swiss-based empire.

On Friday, Coca-Cola ran out of patience and "For the good of the game", demanded Blatter's immediate resignation and for FIFA to clean out their house and restore credibility to the present and future reputation of global football and the people that run it.

 

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