Sponsors keep up demands for FIFA reform

GMT 07:03 2015 Thursday ,29 October

Arab Today, arab today Sponsors keep up demands for FIFA reform

FIFA president Sepp Blatter resisted the calls of sponsors
London - AFP

FIFA's major sponsors on Wednesday renewed demands for outside figures to lead reform of the scandal-plagued world football governing body.

Credit card giant Visa said it could end its deal with FIFA if the organisation is not made more accountable.

Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Anheuser-Busch Inbev and Visa, which have provided hundreds of millions of dollars to FIFA, all said there had to be greater efforts on accountability and transparency.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter had resisted their calls to step down before he was suspended by the organisation's independent ethics committee this month.

All expressed their disapproval over FIFA's Blatter-appointed reform committee to a British House of Commons hearing on the FIFA crisis.

"If we are not satisfied in that regard we will reassess our sponsorship," Visa vice-chairman Ellen Richey told the British lawmakers.

Visa wanted "a different governing body that can properly promote football in the way that we all want it to."

The reform committee is led by former International Olympic Committee secretary general Francois Carrard. But the other 12 members have all been named by football's regional confederations.

Peter Franklin, Coca Cola's director for worldwide sport, told the hearing the US drinks multi-national was pressing for greater reform moves.

"We continue to push," Franklin said, adding that talks have been held with Carrard and Domenico Scala, who heads its audit committee.

"We will look at the reform process to make sure we are comfortable with the reforms" carried out, Franklin said in a veiled warning about its sponsorship.

But he said "no threat has been made at this point."

Julian Hilton-Johnson, McDonald's vice president for corporate relations, said that the FIFA crisis is "unprecedented anywhere else in world sport but it is unacceptable and it needs to change."

"There needs to be meaningful change particularly change around transparency in the organisation and accountability."

Most sponsors have been pressing for a reform process similar to that used by the IOC after it was dragged into a bribery scandal over the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002.

Half of the reform committee members came from outside the Olympic movement.

"We look for independent third parties to lead this process," said Franklin.

Emma Reynolds, corporate affairs director for Anheuser-Busch Inbev, called FIFA's transparency "quite inadequate."

She said the beer giant was pressing FIFA "privately as well as publicly."

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