World Cup sponsors being linked with problems engulfing FIFA and Brazil, study claims

Saturday, 14 June 2014
By Nick Butler

Protesters in Brazil and the ongoing corruption allegations within FIFA have harmed revenue for sponsors, it is claimed ©Getty ImagesProtests continuing to engulf Brazil, along with the corruption scandal involving Qatar's successful bid for the 2022 World Cup, have negatively affected many of the World Cup sponsors and partners, a study has shown.

According to an analysis completed by the Global Language Monitor following the opening day of action in Brazil, 9.26 per cent of mentions of the FIFA partners and sponsors have been affiliated with terms such as "corruption" and "disarray".

Using their Brand Affiliation Index (BAI), the study considers to what extent each of the six partners and eight sponsors was affiliated with these terms, with a high BAI score suggesting a closer link.

Of the six partners, Sony scores highest with 279, followed by Visa, Adidas, Hyundi-Kia and Coca-Cola before, perhaps surprisingly, Dubai-based airline Emirates in sixth place with a score of 50.86.

Of the eight sponsors, Budweiser scores highest with 73.47, while Castrol Motor Oil receives the lowest score of just 1.42.

Criticism of top FIFA officials, including President Sepp Blatter, will not have helped the World Cup sponsors and partners ©Getty ImagesCriticism of top FIFA officials, including President Sepp Blatter, will not have helped the World Cup sponsors and partners ©Getty Images



This follows last month's revelation by The Sunday Times in London that it had seen millions of secret documents which allegedly prove football officials were paid a total of $5 million (£3 million/€3.6 million) to back Qatar's bid for the 2022 World Cup.

Since then, FIFA has largely closed ranks and accused critics of being motivated by racism.

This reaction has received much criticism in some parts of the world, especially in Europe, where governing body UEFA is leading opposition to Sepp Blatter's attempts to earn a fifth term as President next year.

It is likely thE partners receiving the highest BAI scores - like Sony, Visa and Adidas - did so because they are best known as being affiliated with FIFA and, perhaps in anticipation of such an impact, all three have warned FIFA to take the corruption claims seriously.

Last week, Sony said it expected FIFA to ensure the disclosures are "investigated appropriately", while Visa said it hoped FIFA would "take the appropriate actions to respond to the current investigation and its recommendations".

Adidas, which renewed its sponsorship until 2030 last November and is FIFA's longest serving partner, added: "The negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners."

It will be hoped that as action heats up on the pitch, the benefit for the partners and sponsors will become more positive ©Getty ImagesIt will be hoped that as action heats up on the pitch, the benefit for the partners and sponsors will become more positive ©Getty Images







The situation in Brazil, where protesters continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the lavish spending for the World Cup at a time when the nation faces many socio-economic problems, has also contributed to the negative publicity.

Such protests took place in at least 10 cities across the country ahead of the opening match between the host country and Croatia on Thursday (June 12).

In the worse cases, just hours before the Opening Ceremony at the Arena Corinthians in São Paulo, about 100 protesters started fires and threw rocks at police in an apparent attempt to block a road leading to the venue.

Similar eruptions were seen in Rio de Janeiro, the city in which the World Cup final will take place on July 13, shortly after the match concluded. 
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