Tom Peck: Fifa's backers have the clout to produce change

If the storm around Fifa really is moving towards some kind of end-game, the sponsors are the key pieces

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The Independent Football

If the storm around Fifa really is moving towards some kind of end-game, the sponsors are the key pieces.

Fifa serves little function other than to generate as much money as it can on the back of the game of football, a task which is relatively straightforward given how widely the game is loved around the world (a fact that has little to do with anything Fifa has acheived in the last 50 years). The constant disbelief and criticism that surrounds the governing body it can handle because, in the end, along comes the football itself, everybody loves it, the bottom line is unaffected, and the saga rolls on.

The constant scandals, the constant chipping away at a facade that clearly covers grave wrongdoing are merely an inconvenience – albeit a serious one – for Fifa. Yet, if the money, in the hundreds of millions of dollars, stops coming in, well that is a different story altogether.

It is the sponsors’ money, for the most part, that is being spent on dubious football “development projects”, overseen by some shadowy sports administrator who supervises the arrival of cash. Though they only rarely say so in public, sponsors definitely don’t like it.

Sony may very well have ended this deal regardless. The contract was up, they do not have the resources to renew it, that’s the end of it. But more often than not, top-level sponsors, like Coca-Cola and Adidas, are in it for the very long term. These deals tend to get renewed.

If Samsung come in and replace Sony, and pay more for the privilege, then it is of only limited significance. But Sony comes after a similar walk out from Emirates Airlines earlier this month, and the criticism from Coke will also give Fifa something to think about.

Sponsors should not have to take a moral stand. The law of the land should be sufficient. In this case, it is clearly not.

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