Brands including Coca-Cola and Visa have expressed concern at the news that several officials at FIFA, footballs organising body, have been arrested over corruption charges.
FIFA, which runs the quadrennial football World Cup event, has long faced allegations of wrong-doing, especially after the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.
The situation escalated yesterday morning when, ahead of FIFAs presidential election vote in Switzerland, seven officials were arrested at dawn as part of an FBI investigation.
Among the allegations is the suggested that bribes were made to secure media and marketing rights for the World Cup.
Now FIFA sponsors such as Adidas, Budweiser, Hyundai and McDonalds, which collectively contribute billions of dollars towards each World Cup tournament, have declared their unease at developments.
Visa today expressed its profound disappointment and concern at the suggestions of corruption at FIFA, and warned it would reassess its sponsorship if changes are not made.
As a sponsor, we expect FIFA to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its organisation. This starts with rebuilding a culture with strong ethical practices in order to restore the reputation of the games for fans everywhere. Should FIFA fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship, read the statement.
Long-term sponsor Coca-Cola said it had had repeatedly expressed concerns to FIFA, but insisted it is confident the body will respond positively to the allegations: This lengthy controversy has tarnished the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup and we have repeatedly expressed our concerns about these serious allegations.
We expect FIFA to continue to address these issues thoroughly. FIFA has stated that it is responding to all requests for information and we are confident it will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities.