FIFA says it is in advanced talks with companies to replace a number of sponsors whose contracts have expired.
Tier one sponsors Sony and Emirates plus tier two World Cup sponsors Castrol, Continental and Johnson & Johnson have all chosen not to renew their deals, which expired at the end of 2014.
Moscow-based oil and gas giant Gazprom has joined as a tier one partner ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, while talks are continuing with others companies, understood to include Qatar Airways, the national airline of the 2022 hosts.
FIFA’s marketing director Thierry Weil said in a statement: “Rotations at the end of a sponsorship cycle are commonplace in the sports industry and have continuously occurred since the commercialisation of the FIFA World Cup began. It is natural that as brands’ strategies evolve they reassess their sponsorship properties.
“The contracts with Castrol, Continental and Johnson & Johnson were always planned to run until the end of 2014 and therefore expired on December 31, 2014 accordingly.
“As in previous FIFA World Cup cycles, we are now in advanced negotiations with a number of companies related to sponsorship agreements in all three of our categories, ranging from tier 1 FIFA partners, tier 2 FIFA World Cup sponsors and tier 3 regional supporters.
“Each category provides tailored marketing opportunities for companies with a range of varying rights and we expect interest to grow even more as the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and 2018 FIFA World Cup draw closer.”
None of the sponsors have blamed the bad publicity surrounding FIFA corruption allegations for the decision to end their relationships with world football’s governing body, however.
Campaigners lobbying for reform of FIFA, which has faced a number of instances and allegations of corruption, have said they will target its sponsors.
The strategy emerged at this week’s ’New FIFA Now’ summit in Brussels, the first organised campaign to challenge the leadership of FIFA in its 111-year history.
Former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman, who has previously made allegations in parliament about FIFA corruption surrounding the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, attacked the culture and governance of FIFA under president Sepp Blatter.
Jaimie Fuller, the chairman of the SKINS sportswear company who has previously campaigned for reform of cycling, will be writing to all FIFA sponsors and has announced to “the first ever ’official’ non-sponsorship of football’s governing body”.