Exclusive: Emirates back FIFA's reforms after sponsor review

Monday, 31 December 2012
By Andrew Warshaw

Sepp Blatter with Emirates and World CupDecember 31 - Emirates Airlines, one of FIFA's most important sponsors who last month disclosed they were concerned about the organisation's image, claim they are now satisfied that football's world governing body is putting its house in order.

Emirates' eight-year $195 million (£122 million/€150 million) sponsorship of FIFA expires in 2014 and the Dubai-based carrier have been vocal about reconsidering their position thereafter and possibly not renewing the partnership.

FIFA's reputation has been damaged by allegations of bribery and vote-rigging in the past two years but Emirates senior vice-president Boutros Boutros says Sepp Blatter and his corruption busters are doing their best to clean up the operation with the ongoing two-year reform drive.

"What I said before about renewal is that we needed to wait until we had studied whether our brand was damaged because it's a big investment," Boutros told insidethegames.

"You cannot invest unless you do a proper evaluation.

"We have now done a market research test and so far it would seem there is no negative effect on our brand or people's perception of it, whatever FIFA has gone through."

Sepp Blatter with Fair Play documentSepp Blatter is trying to clean up FIFA, believes Emirates senior vice-president Boutros Boutros

Boutros said he was satisfied that FIFA was becoming more accountable in what is Blatter's final term of office, and that the organisation's reputation was beginning to improve.

"When we spoke [before] about transparency, they were not as clear as they are now," he said.

"We have to give them a chance to finish what they are doing.

"To me they are starting to get better publicity."

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