Wednesday 13 November 2019

Nike 'co-operating' with FIFA as scandal raises concerns for sponsors

Two men talk to each other in front of the FIFA logo at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, Wednesday,
Two men talk to each other in front of the FIFA logo at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, Wednesday,

Nike insists it is co-operating with the authorities after the arrests of football officials in Zurich on corruption charges on Wednesday.

US attorney general Loretta E Lynch has outlined allegations of bribery and corruption in the bidding process for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, the 2011 FIFA presidential election and a sponsorship agreement between the Brazil national football team and a major US sportswear company.

Nike signed a £100million sponsorship deal with the Brazilian Football Confederation in 1996 and still has an agreement with the association - but Lynch would not comment on whether or not the company was involved in the investigation.

However, the sportswear giant issued a statement which read: "Like fans everywhere we care passionately about the game and are concerned by the very serious allegations.

Read more: FAI boss John Delaney describes FIFA corruption arrests as 'something out of a mafia movie'

"Nike believes in ethical and fair play in both business and sport and strongly opposes any form of manipulation or bribery. We have been co-operating, and will continue to co-operate, with the authorities."

Sponsors were closely monitoring developments after a dramatic day in both Switzerland and America.

A statement from adidas read: "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."

Read more: FBI on Fifa arrests: 'This is the World Cup of fraud and today we are issuing Fifa a red card'

A spokesman for Budweiser said: "We expect all of our partners to maintain strong ethical standards and operate with transparency."

Meanwhile, the former head of Club England branded FIFA "toxic".

Adrian Bevington, who left his dual position as managing director of Club England and director of communications in December after 17 years with the Football Association, likened the governing body to disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong after a wave of arrests in Zurich on Wednesday.

Bevington told Sky Sports News: "FIFA's brand is toxic. It has been for years. It doesn't get much more serious than this. The only thing I can compare it to is the Lance Armstrong situation."

Read more: UEFA calls for postponement of FIFA presidential election as Sepp Blatter 'welcomes' investigation

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