- Five major FIFA sponsors have published an open letter demanding "independent oversight" over the scandal-ridden soccer organization's reform process.
- The pointed letter -- published by Coca-Cola Co., Adidas, Visa Inc., Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and McDonald’s Corp. -- stressed the need for "cultural change" within soccer's governing body.
- This is not the first time key sponsors have voiced their displeasure with how the global soccer organization has handled things throughout the ongoing corruption scandal. Two months ago, Coca-Cola and McDonald's called for embattled President Sepp Blatter's immediate resignation.
FIFA World Cup sponsors, including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa and Adidas, spent an estimated $190 million on FIFA sponsorships in 2014, and according to Bloomberg, shell out some $100 million per four-year World Cup cycle.
While brands may have been quick to distance themselves from the corruption allegations made against soccer's governing body, they seemed to drag their feet over whether or not to pull their sponsorships. But given how much these brands have invested in the global soccer organization, it would come as a shock if they pulled their funding.
That being said, it is in the sponsors' best interest that FIFA make credible moves toward serious reforms sooner rather than later. The open letter, which is directed at FIFA's executive committee, comes days before the organization is set to decide what reforms to address at an emergency congress in February.
"We are aware of the positive work that the Reform Committee has been doing on governance reform, but we still believe any reforms should be subject to independent oversight. It has also become clear to us that such independent oversight needs to run long-term through the implementation and evolution of the reform process," the sponsors wrote in the letter. "We encourage you to become champions of this independent oversight as it will only enhance FIFA’s credibility."
Other reforms sponsors called for included greater transparency, accountability, respect for human rights, integrity, leadership and gender equality.
Early Thursday morning, hours before the executive committee was set to meet, Swiss authorities made several arrests, as two FIFA officials were accused of "accepting millions of dollars in bribes related to the sale of marketing rights for World Cup qualifying matches and soccer tournaments in Latin America," The New York Times reported.
Per Bloomberg, 30% of the $5 billion revenue the World Cup brings in comes from marketing sales.