- After months of taking a wait-and-see approach, Coca-Cola and McDonald's are calling for embattled President Sepp Blatter's immediate resignation.
- The two brands are major sponsors of FIFA and its World Cup, paying tens of millions of dollars annually to the organization for the sponsorship rights.
- A Blatter spokesperson issued a statement after the sponsors made theirs, saying that Blatter will not resign.
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. Now, following the news last week that Swiss authorities were investigating Blatter, major sponsors Coca-Cola and McDonald's are calling for FIFA's president to make a full exit. The brands have not publicly said they would pull their sponsorships.
Blatter has indicated through a spokesperson he will resign as a result of the calls, adding that Coca-Cola is a "valued sponsor." The onus now appears to be on Coca-Cola and McDonald's to follow through on their calls for Blatter to resign. Those calls can be seen as an implied threat to pull their sponsorship, and Blatter's response has put the ball in the brands' court.
Blatter has been at FIFA since 1998 and had earlier announced he wouldn't run for re-election in February, but that he would stay in his position until a replacement was found. Earlier this summer, the Justice Department had filed charges against nine current and former FIFA officials for alleged bribery and corruption over the course of more than two decades. Prosecutors in Switzerland opened a criminal investigation into Blatter last week.
FIFA World Cup sponsors, including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa and Adidas, spent an estimated $190 million on FIFA sponsorships in 2014 . Public dislike over FIFA leaders' alleged corruption did not deter many brands from making sponsorship deals for the Women's World Cup this summer.