Friday, January 23, 2015

More FIFA fans head for the exit

FIFA is set to lose three more World Cup sponsors


Castrol, Continental and Johnson & Johnson were among eight second-tier sponsors for Brazil 2014, along with Budweiser, McDonalds, Moy Park, Oi and Yingli. But the three firms have joined Sony and Emirates in not renewing their sponsorship deals for Russia 2018.

More FIFA fans head for the exit.


Although the reasons for leaving are unconfirmed, it would be a surprise if their decisions were not connected to the never-ending bad press surrounding the sport's governing body.

Any financial support for a bent body like FIFA reflects badly on the brand image of a company but the temptation to have one's name so exposed across the globe must equally make it hard to turn the chance to sponsor a World Cup down.

Right now, the top tier sponsors are FIFA's old pal Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai-Kia and Visa, all of whom you might want to boycott, while Gazprom and Qatar Airways, two companies intimately linked with the next two World Cups, are strongly expected to join them soon.

FIFA will probably look to replace the three departing sponsors, who hail from Germany, the UK and the USA, with Asian companies, but the news is still cheering for anyone praying for a regime change in Zurich. With Sepp Blatter seemingly impregnable, cutting FIFA's funding sources off may well be the best route to an 'under new management' sign.

Coke and Visa have publicly ticked FIFA off but have shied away from withdrawing their money so far.

This latest news arrives as the 78-year old Blatter embarks on yet another presidential campaign. Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein is so far the only challenger, with Jerome Champagne and David Ginola apparently struggling to get the minimum five recommendations from FIFA nations before next week's deadline.

Blatter's power base remains the block of votes from Africa, then Asia and he also has pockets of support in the Caribbean, Jack Warner's former fiefdom, and South America, where his lieutenants Nicolas Leoz and Julio Grondona, swept up the votes for him until they finally left the stage in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

The presidential election is due to take place at the FIFA Congress in Zurich on the 29th of May.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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