Visa has become the first Fifa sponsor to threaten terminating its support for football's scandal-hit governing body.
The financial services giant said "we will reassess our sponsorship" if Fifa does not make immediate changes to its conduct following the arrest of a number of top officials on bribery and racketeering charges brought by the US Department of Justice.
Fifa has long been dogged by allegations of corruption amongst its executive committee members, but the pressure on the organisation increased yesterday following the arrests and a raid on its Zurich headquarters by Swiss police conducting a separate investigation into the allocation of future hosting of World Cups to Qatar and Russia.
Visa's stern statement comes in contrast to more cautious stances from McDonald's, Adidas and several other major Fifa sponsors.
In a statement Visa said:
Our disappointment and concern with Fifa in light of today's developments is profound. As a sponsor, we expect Fifa to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its organization. This starts with rebuilding a culture with strong ethical practices in order to restore the reputation of the games for fans everywhere.
Visa became a sponsor of Fifa because the World Cup is one of the few truly global sporting events with the power to unite people from around the world through a common love of football. Our sponsorship has always focused on supporting the teams, enabling a great fan experience, and inspiring communities to come together and celebrate the spirit of competition and personal achievement – and it is important that Fifa makes changes now, so that the focus remain on those going forward. Should Fifa fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship.
This lengthy controversy has tarnished the mission and ideals of the Fifa World Cup and we have repeatedly expressed our concerns about these serious allegations. We expect Fifa to continue to address these issues thoroughly. FIFA has stated that it is responding to all requests for information and we are confident it will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities.
Budweiser owner Anheuser-Busch:
We expect all of our partners to maintain strong ethical standards and operate with transparency.
We continue to closely monitor the situation through our ongoing communications with Fifa.
McDonald’s takes matters of ethics and corruption very seriously and the news from the US Department of Justice is extremely concerning.
We are in contact with Fifa on this matter. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely.
As a company that place the highest priority on ethical standards and transparency, Hyundai Motor is extremely concerned about the legal proceedings being taken against certain Fifa executives and will continue to monitor the situation closely.
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.