The electronics company Sony has become the first of Fifa’s official commercial partners to call on the football’s governing body to “appropriately investigate” the allegations of corruption and bribery surrounding Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
The company, which is one of Fifa’s six official corporate partners, has said that it expects Fifa to adhere to their principles of “ethics” and integrity” and ensure allegations of corruption are looked into.
In a statement to the Sunday Times, Sony said: “As a Fifa partner, we expect these allegations to be investigated appropriately.”
“We continue to expect Fifa to adhere to its principles of integrity ethics and fair play across all aspects of its operations.”
The fact that one of Fifa’s official partners has now weighed into the debate will put further pressure on football’s governing body to investigate the allegations surrounding Qatar’s bid to secure the 2022 tournament.
The company which has a partnership with Fifa thought to be worth $305 million, is not only crucial to football’s governing body in terms of funding, but also their technical development of TV and broadcast equipment for major tournaments.
So far there have been no public statements from Fifa’s five other partners, which include drinks company Coca-Cola, sports manufacturer Adidas and the airline Emirates.
Currently, Fifa have New York-based lawyer Michael Garcia carrying out an investigation looking into bribery and corruption allegations surrounding the race to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
Garcia has spent more than a year travelling the world to interview those involved - at a cost of £6 million to Fifa.
On Wednesday, Garcia was in Oman talking to members of the Qatari bidding committee as part of his work.
It is believed that he will wind up his investigation early next week, before writing and filing his report with Fifa’s new adjudicatory chamber in July.
Despite the millions of documents that the Sunday Times claim to have, the paper said today that it does not believe that Garcia would use any of their evidence in his final report.
It is believed that if Fifa does find the allegations to be true it could lead to Qatar being stripped of its right to host the tournament and a new host nation being selected.
In a statement by Fifa Vice-President Jim Boyce last week, the 70-year-old said he would have no problem with a re-vote if foul play was discovered.
The Qatar bid team has said it “vehemently denies all allegations of wrong-doing” in the wake of recent reports, and that it was cooperating fully with Mr Garcia’s investigation.
“The Qatar 2022 Bid Committee always upheld the highest standard of ethics and integrity in its successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World,” a statement read.
Fifa President Sepp Blatter has called for time to be allowed to investigate the allegations, tweeting this morning: "Never ignoring media reports on ethics allegations in football. But let the Ethics Committee work!"
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