BALL’S world governing body Fifa has come under further pressure on the eve of the World Cup after three of its main sponsors expressed concern at allegations of corruption.
Sportswear giant Adidas said the “negative tenor of the public debate around Fifa”, following claims that the success of Qatar’s bid to stage the 2022 World Cup was influenced by bribes, was “neither good for football nor for Fifa and its partners”.
Credit card company Visa said it was monitoring Fifa’s investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, adding that it expected “all our partners [to] maintain strong ethical standards and operate with transparency”.
The remarks came after Sony became the first major Fifa sponsor to speak out over fresh allegations in the Sunday Times regarding Qatar and the 2022 World Cup bid. “As a Fifa partner, we expect these allegations to be investigated appropriately,” the entertainment firm told the newspaper. “We continue to expect Fifa to adhere to its principles of integrity, ethics and fair play across all aspects of its operations.”
Qatar’s 2022 organising committee has strongly denied suggestions of impropriety in its bid to host football’s biggest event, the next staging of which begins in Brazil on Thursday. It said: “Qatar has won the bid on its merits.”