Are your favorite brands backing an alleged criminal conspiracy polluting the world’s beautiful game?
The arrest of senior FIFA officials to be tried in the US on corruption charges is the huge blow to the soccer organization’s brazen culture, but the message won’t really get through until the corporate sponsors that provide the organization’s funding demand change. FIFA won’t change its ways until chief Sepp Blatter is personally indicted—or the money runs out.
We’re looking at you, Coca-Cola, Adidas, McDonalds, Hyundai, Visa, Budweiser, and Gazprom. Well, maybe not Gazprom.
It’s hard to imagine the big World Cup television deals that provide most of the funding going away. The problem with FIFA’s history of scandal is always that it can hide behind the massive popularity of the sport it brings, and someone will always pony up to broadcast the global soccer competition.
But the sponsors who are paying simply to associate their brands with FIFA—$1.6 billion alone in 2014—have a bit more leeway to walk away, as Sony did last year. That’s especially true as some clever firms have already dodged both the fees and the ethical complications to share their message at the World Cup.
Here’s our rundown, which will be updating, of how the big seven FIFA partners and sponsors for the 2018 World Cup in Russia are responding to the news of todays arrests and other FIFA scandals:
An Adidas representative tells Quartz:
The Adidas Group is fully committed to creating a culture that promotes the highest standards of ethics and compliance, and we expect the same from our partners. Following today’s news, we can therefore only encourage FIFA to continue to establish and follow transparent compliance standards in everything they do.
Adidas is the world’s leading football brand and we will continue to support football on all levels.
Still waiting for a new comment, but when FIFA quashed an internal corruption investigation in November, the soda giant told Quartz:
Anything that detracts from the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup is a concern to us. The current conflicting perspectives regarding the investigation are disappointing. Our expectation is that this will be resolved quickly in a transparent and efficient manner.
McDonald’s, Hyundai, Visa, Budweiser, Gazprom
We are still waiting for comment.