Visa may have experienced a Europe-wide outage yesterday, but MasterCard haven't been far behind in the bad publicity stakes this week.
On Thursday, MasterCard unveiled a charitable initiative whereby 10,000 meals will be donated to the United Nations World Food Programme every time Lionel Messi and Neymar score a goal until March 2020.
The aim is "to help combat childhood hunger and malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean". However, MasterCard have been accused of gambling children's futures on a game of chance or an injury.
It's also raised the scenario of referees' decisions, VAR overrulings or goalkeepers' saves potentially adding to the plight of childhood hunger. Or, indeed, Messi or Neymar unselfishly passing to a teammate in front of goal could become a much less selfless act.
Goals that changes lives: for each goal scored by Messi or Neymar Jr. Mastercard will donate the equivalent of 10,000 meals to @WFP to fight childhood hunger and malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean #TogetherWeAre10 #StartSomethingPriceless https://t.co/URfIp77ElN pic.twitter.com/Ckq61oJgld— Noticias Mastercard (@MastercardLAC) May 31, 2018
Sorry kids VAR overruled it, no food today.— Joe Beck (@joseph83beck) June 1, 2018
Worst PR own goal ever. If you’ve got the money.... just buy the f***ing food. How sad that the fate of a starving child rests in the foot of a multi million pound player.— Justin Lockwood (@Lockers75) June 1, 2018
This is absolutely SICK! 🤢 Having the means to provide 10000 meals and then basing that decision on the outcome of a sporting event is morally wrong! It could meant the difference between life and death for a child and isn’t a corporate companies PR excercise!!— Simon Wait (@swait1982) June 1, 2018
So are goalkeepers going to be responsible for children going hungry? #PRowngoal— Lisa M (@Mrs_Metters) June 1, 2018
It's like playing god with starving children and a massive insult and unfair on the players, if you miss this penalty you've just starved some children. Just give them the food, and do offers for customers for every goal scored.— Chris Thacker (@chrisjthacker) June 1, 2018
There is a bird with a broken leg in my garden. For every RT this gets I'll give it another drop of water.— Stephen Tudor (@SteTudor123) June 1, 2018
Messi said: “I’m proud to be a part of this campaign that will help change the lives of thousands of children in my country and other regions of the world. I hope this initiative gives as many smiles as possible to all the children.”
Neymar added: “I’m happy I can help make sure that children in the region can have a plate of food and more hope. Latin Americans know we can do great things when we come together, and this is an example of that. Together we can fight hunger.”
BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey hit out at the "crass, ill-thought out, and in poor taste" promotion.
So, MasterCard clearly have the money. But the hungry, malnourished children only get the food if Messi & Neymar have a good World Cup?!?!?
Just for context, one month ago, MasterCard reported a 38% increase in revenue...to $3.5bn. https://t.co/tBE9jWfYXG— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) June 2, 2018
Because it’s crass, ill-thought out, and in poor taste. Hungry kids isn’t a game show & shouldnt be used to promote a business or a mega-star footballer.— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) June 2, 2018
Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin called it "vulgar to the point of profanity".
This is vulgar to the point of profanity.June 1, 2018
"Absolute psychopaths" was Social Democrats councillor Gary Gannon's words for the offer.
Imagine having the means to provide 10,000 meals to “help kids without food”, and determining whether you provide that help, or not- on an outcome of chance.
Absolute psychopaths. https://t.co/XmCuv4n3CB— Gary Gannon (@1GaryGannon) June 1, 2018
Why not give them the meals anyway.... https://t.co/90TkyxpsLc— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) June 1, 2018
Will the children live or die? Find out with Mastercard at the World Cup. What fun! 🤔 https://t.co/xkLXzGAxXY— Jonathan Savage (@JSavageTweets) June 2, 2018