World Cup sponsors criticised for inaction over FIFA and Qatar Labour conditions

Nov 03, 2015 Four World Cup sponsoring companies recently faced the British Parliament’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

During the meeting, Coca Cola’s Peter Franklin, Visa’s Ellen Richey, McDonalds’s Julian Hilton-Johnson and Anheuser-Busch’s Emma Reynolds, were subject to a close examination.

The four sponsors had earlier expressed concerns over the lack of independence in the ongoing FIFA reform process.

Speaking on this, Peter Franklin of Coca Cola said:

“We have formed an opinion that FIFA could not reform itself and it needed to have eminent third parties to come in and help with the reform process, lead the reform process. That was certainly our position that we expressed in July of this year by October the first when we had seen that there was not the level of change that we were looking for. That’s when we called Mr Blatter to step down under the belief that FIFA had to change its senior management so it would be capable of reform.”

Julian Hilton-Johnson, McDonalds’ Corporate Relations executive said:

“I think we have been very clear with FIFA that what is happening is unacceptable. There was a series of events which unfolded in a way that to my knowledge is unprecedented. Of course there are learnings for us in all of this, in our dealings with sponsorships more widely. It is difficult for us to assess exactly how much influence we have with FIFA. We have to assume it is significant and that is why, when the events which have come to light have come to light, once we have the picture that we have, we have been very firm with FIFA in our position and what needs to change.”

Reacting to the comments raised by the sponsors, John Nicolson of the Scottish Nationalist Party said:

“You don’t seem to be worried about anybody stepping into your shoes, so you are very secure in your relationship as sponsors, all four of you have confirmed that. Mr Blatter’s empire would have collapsed without you. You had him by the short and curlies. You could really have made life very difficult for him and at no point do you seem to have tried to cut up rough with him – until you wrote him a series of strongly-worded statements.”

Despite their strong-worded comments on FIFA, the British parliamentarian still expressed reservations on why the sponsors took so long to react to FIFA’s conducts.

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