Adidas Won't Rule Out Parting with FIFA
4 Jan, 2016
According to Sports One Source Media, Herbert Hainer, Adidas Group CEO, said for the first time that Adidas may explore “alternatives” to its long sponsorship of FIFA if soccer's world governing body does not reform itself.
"If FIFA succeeds in reforming itself -- and in my view they're making good progress here -- then we will continue," Hainer told the German business daily Handelsblatt. But if FIFA fails to get its house in order, "we will have to think about what the alternatives are," Hainer said.
Adidas has sponsored FIFA for more than 40 years and the current contract runs until 2030. While a number of other major sponsors, such as Coca-Cola and VISA, have called on FIFA chief Sepp Blatter to go, Adidas has so far taken a more conciliatory tone.
FIFA has been hit by various corruption charges, particularly focused on the bidding process for the 2006 World Cup. FIFA President Sepp Blatter - currently suspended by the organization’s ethics committee - is stepping down in February.
Hainer also said Adidas has examined all contracts touched in the investigation against several former and present leading FIFA executives and "I can say with a clear conscience that we are clean".
Adidas declined to join other sponsors such as Coca-Cola and Visa in calling for Blatter's immediate resignation in summer, but did say reform was needed.
In late November, top FIFA sponsors, including Coca Cola Co., Adidas, Visa Inc., Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and McDonald's Corp., published an open letter directed at FIFA's decision-making executive committee urging global soccer's governing body to employ "independent oversight" around the reforms.