Fifa's sponsors will welcome corruption scrutiny - but only for so long

Jacques de Cock
Explosive allegations have put Fifa's relationship with sponsors such as Budweiser under threat (Source: Getty)
Corruption allegations aside, Sepp Blatter’s decision to resign was the right move for Fifa, its sponsors and football.
Fifa is now faced with the challenge of rebuilding its reputation. Had it not had the monopoly on international football, the organisation would be dead in the water by now.
However, responsibility for reshaping the future of Fifa not only resides with the integrity of Blatter’s successor but also the British and American media to hold back on their quest for schadenfreude. Blatter’s critics have won and now they should be part of the process to unify Fifa.
All of the brands associated with Fifa are hoping that this will be the end of the corruption saga. Ultimately Fifa’s sponsors only really care about one thing; the football, as that is where they see their return.
The Women’s World Cup starts in just two days' time and that is what the sponsors now want the world’s media to start focusing on, and to date it has had no serious coverage.
What the sponsors definitely don’t want is for this inquest to turn into an inquisition and a witch-hunt mentality to permeate all levels of Fifa. Likewise a fight for the control of the organisation is unwanted.
This would prolong Fifa’s association with scandal leading to potential damage to the sponsors.
However, whilst the vast majority of the sponsors have welcomed this new tough stance on corruption, they will soon grow tired of this self-righteousness. In fact it could see revenues to Fifa drop by around $500-$700m.
If the media do not let go the blow will not be fatal but will be long lasting and make everything Fifa and the other football associations do (including Uefa and the FA) suspect forever.
If the constant demonisation of football’s ruling body is allowed to continue, the shockwaves are going to be felt throughout the sport. Not only will Fifa’s brand be effectively destroyed, football’s reputation will be permanently tarnished for sponsors.
Ultimately, the total destruction of Fifa is not what the sponsors want, not what the players want and certainly not what the fans want.
If corruption has been as endemic as it has been reported then due process must be followed and those guilty must be held to account, but Fifa should not become a political football.

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