Adidas has become the first World Cup sponsor to publicly respond to the news Wednesday morning that FIFA was subject to two separate corruption probes, which resulted in the arrests of several high-ranking officials.
The German sportswear company was stopped short of being critical of football’s governing body, but instead encouraged FIFA to maintain ethical and compliance standards.
Adidas’ statement in full, sent to Business Insider via email, reads:
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.
FIFA is subject ot two separate criminal investigations. One from the Swiss Attorney General regarding the voting process for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and the other from the US Department of Justice, which resulted in the arrest of nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives on Wednesday.
An indictment from the US Department of Justice has charged 14 people with racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracies in connection with their participation in a “24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.”
In a press conference held in Zurich earlier today, FIFA’s spokesman Walter De Gregorio said this morning’s arrests offer an opportunity to clean up the organisation.
He added: “This for FIFA is good. It’s not good in terms of image, it’s not good in terms of reputation, but in terms of cleaning up, everything we did in the last four years, this is good.”
Business Insider has contacted all of the other FIFA World Cup sponsors for comment on today’s arrest. The only other sponsor apart from Adidas to respond is automaker Hyundai, which said it would “not be making any comment at this time.”
Last year, several World Cup sponsors including Visa and Coca-Cola came out publicly criticising FIFA’s handling of its investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
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