Coca-Cola has become the first main sponsor of Fifa that have called on Sepp Blatter to step down immediately after Swiss authorities opened criminal proceedings against the leader of world football.
The soft drinks company that enjoys a worldwide reputation has issued a statement that calls on 70-year-old Blatter to “step down immediately” in order for the complete reformation of the governing body to take place.
The statement said Coca-Cola are "calling for Fifa President Joseph Blatter to step down immediately so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest."
It adds: "Every day that passes, the image and reputation of Fifa continues to tarnish. Fifa needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach."
Every day that passes, the image and reputation of Fifa continues to tarnish
Another major sponsor, McDonalds, soon issued their own statement to call on Blatter to relinquish his role at Fifa.
McDonalds said: "The events of recent weeks have continued to diminish the reputation of FIFA and public confidence in its leadership.
"We believe it would be in the best interest of the game for FIFA president Sepp Blatter to step down immediately so that the reform process can proceed with the credibility that is needed."
However, Blatter issued an immediate response through his lawyer to claim that while he respects the views of the sponsors, he will not step down until his planned exit in February.
The statement read: "While Coca-Cola is a valued sponsor of Fifa, Mr Blatter respectfully disagrees with its position and believes firmly that his leaving office now would not be in the best interest of Fifa nor would it advance reform and therefore, he [Blatter] will not resign.”
Blatter is currently being investigated by Swiss prosecutors who are looking into allegations of widespread corruption among Fifa. Blatter has been accused of “criminal mismanagement” over awarding a TV rights contract that was signed along with disgraced official Jack Warner which saw the former head of Caribbean football make an £11m personal profit.
Blatter is also accused of a “disloyal payment” regarding a fee of 2 million Swiss Francs (£1.4m) that was paid to Uefa president and current Fifa presidential hopeful Michel Platini in 2011.
Blatter has taken to Fifa’s official magazine to protest his innocence and reject any wrong-doing during his tenure as Fifa president.
- More about: