Fifa blow as Emirates not renewing sponsorship

Fifa is facing the prospect of losing two of its biggest sponsors after airline Emirates decided not to renew its contract while electronics giant Sony consider ending its links with the world governing body.

The confirmation comes four months after a number of Fifa’s official World Cup partners expressed concerns about the negative publicity surrounding the latest allegations of corruption.

Emirates’ contract expires next month and the Dubai-based airline has confirmed it will not renew its sponsorship.

Fifa said it has known of the decision since 2012.

It is understood Qatar Airways — owned by the 2022 World Cup hosts — is considering becoming a sponsor in its place.

Fifa confirmed that Emirates will not be renewing its deal and that talks are ongoing with Sony. Samsung, which is a major Olympic sponsor, may take over from Sony.

Both Emirates and Sony are among Fifa’s official partners — the six top tier sponsors who provided hundreds of millions of pounds in sponsorship income to the world governing body.

Fifa said in a statement: “Emirates had already informed Fifa back in June 2012 about the restructuring of its sponsorship concept and Fifa respects this. Due to the ongoing negotiations, we cannot give any further information about future partners in this category at this stage.

“The current contract with Sony still runs until 31 December 2014 and we are currently in on-going discussions with Sony.”

Emirates also confirmed its plans, saying in a statement: “Emirates can confirm that a decision has been made not to renew the sponsorship agreement with Fifa past 2014. This decision was made following an evaluation of Fifa’s contract proposal which did not meet Emirates’ expectations.”

In June, a number of partners including Sony made public their concerns about the effect of continuing negative publicity around Fifa.

It followed publication of fresh allegations of corruption surrounding World Cup voting and elections for Fifa positions.

Adidas, the sportswear firm which is perhaps Fifa’s most important partner and has a deal until 2030, said at the time: “The negative tenor of the public debate around Fifa at the moment is neither good for football nor for Fifa and its partners.”

Japanese electronics giant Sony said in June the corruption claims should “be investigated appropriately” and called for Fifa to observe “its principles of integrity, ethics and fair play”.

Fifa earned more than £230 (€295m) million from sponsors and other marketing partners last year.


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