The arrests of several FIFA officials on Wednesday on racketeering and corruption charges has already led to a number of big name sponsors questioning whether they will continue with their advertising contracts.
But the charges, which relate to more than $US150 million in alleged bribes and kickbacks from the 1990s to today, not only place Qatar’s 2022 World Cup hosting in jeopardy, they also could lead to some of the world’s biggest brands suing FIFA for advertising and marketing money already spent on the event.
“When the news broke, I was absolutely flabbergasted, as this is huge. This is like no other. Even if you look prior to the corruption news, sponsors were already under huge pressure to pull out as there were hundreds of migrant workers that died building the infrastructure for the event,” said Antony Marcou, managing director at sports marketing and tech group Sports Revolution.
“Now with the whole corruption scandal, this isn’t just a question about whether a company should pull out of the World Cup, it’s a question of whether Qatar will even host it anymore. As a massive corporation that signed a contract to sponsor Qatar, you would have committed to spend millions on active campaigns in the country and elsewhere. You’d have recruited people in local markets, spent money already on billboards and advertising, and everything else. It could be wasted spend.
“Companies could sue FIFA if the Qatar World Cup doesn’t happen. Multinationals could also sue if they lost out on a contract and spent money bidding for it. The only people that are going to make a lot of money out of this, is going to be the lawyers.”
Visa, which has a contract with FIFA to sponsor the World Cup until 2022, at an estimated value of $US185 million (£120 million) over a four-year tournament period, issued the most critical statement yet from a World Cup sponsor in reaction to the arrests of several FIFA officials.
On top of that, other sponsors have reacted to the corruption scandal engulfing FIFA in light of yesterday’s news.
You can read what Visa, Coca Cola, Adidas, McDonald’s, and Budweiser, say here.
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