FIFA is in turmoil (again). Following Michael Garcia resignation as independent chairman of the Fifa Ethics Committee’s Investigatory Chamber with all guns blazing, FIFA agrees to release full Garcia’s report. Recently, FIFA sponsors expressed some concerns. Will they take their concerns to the next level?
FIFA sponsors and partners have started to raise eyebrows on corruption allegations. Recently, Visa and Mastercard asked for more transparency from FIFA. Sony decided not to renew their sponsorship deal, and prior to all this, Emirates also pulled out as a FIFA partner.
The whole turmoil got to another level. Let’s recap.
– September 5, Michael Garcia submitted the report about the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.
– November 13, FIFA released a 42-page summary of Garcia report which clears Russia and Qatar of corruption, and at the same time throwing out whistleblowers identity Phaedra Almajid and Bonita Mersiades in the process.
– 13 September, former US District Attorney Michael Garcia claims summary of his report is ‘materially incomplete’ and contains ‘erroneous representations’.
– 20 November, Garcia and FIFA ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert agree to release full report to organisation’s compliance chief, Domenico Scala.
– 16 December, FIFA deems Garcia’s complaint against Eckert’s summary of his report is “not admissible”.
– 17 December Michael Garcia quits as independent chairman of the Fifa Ethics Committee’s Investigatory Chamber.
– 19 December, 2014 – Fifa agrees to release full Garcia report [Source: BBC]
The question now is how far does this whole thing needs to go on until sponsors, and football associations take a stand, put their foot down and say stop?
Can a revolution happen where the football nations (regardless of their influence) and sponsors will jump out of a boat that is splashed with claims of corruption and collusion, lack of transparency and ethic values?
Can a revolution happen where football nations will unite, create their own tournament that will attract sponsors, broadcasters, and affiliates that would want to pitch in into a brand new transparent football governing body?
I often point out on this blog that without sponsors and partners, there is no event. From a marketing standpoint, I believe the World Cup sponsorship format is solid and consistent. It allows sponsors to generate significant revenue, provides a unique platform to show their products and activate onsite, online and come up with creative stuff.
But is it really worth being linked to a rights holder that is under the spotlight for the wrong reasons?
Nike showed significant brand exposure during the 2014 World Cup, yet the swoosh is neither a World Cup nor a FIFA sponsor.
World Cup partners contribute up to $400 million and in return, benefit from brand exposure and significant marketing rights and protection from the rights holder.
Can World Cup sponsors bring their sponsorship money to a new World Cup setup with Football Associations who dropped out of FIFA? How fans would respond to a ‘dissident’ World Cup? How the world would respond to an event created in protest to the traditional one?
That would be a radical move, an unprecedented revolution, a violent one.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” John F. Kennedy.