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12th Jun 2018

FIFA sponsorship plummets amid bribery scandals

Jack O'Toole

FIFA’s sponsorship revenue for this summer’s World Cup is set to plummet amid bribery scandals involving football’s governing body over the last three years.

A report by Nielsen, a leading global information & measurement company, predicts that FIFA will see a $179 million dip in sponsorship revenue at this month’s World Cup in Russia compared to the last World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

Nielsen admits that this year’s tournament in Russia was a tougher sell to sponsors for FIFA but that they will hope for an upturn in sponsorship revenue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

An extract from the report reads:

“In each four-year cycle, the World Cup accounts for the vast majority of the organization’s sponsorship revenue – for example, in 2010 sponsorship income from other events generated $25 million, and in 2014 it generated
$49 million.

“The 2015–18 cycle was a tougher sell than the previous two, but a new crop of sponsors, including several from China, helped FIFA weather the storm. FIFA will be hoping to return to growth in the cycle leading up to the 2022
World Cup in Qatar.

“It can probably look forward to support from Middle Eastern brands seeking to capitalize on the region’s first World Cup.

“The organization will also be hoping for a positive response from sponsors to the ’FIFA 2.0’ modernizing reforms introduced by president Gianni Infantino in 2016.

“These include investing in football development and increasing participation, introducing new standards for transparency and governance, and aiming to double the number of female players worldwide to 60 million by 2026.”

The downturn in sponsorship revenue coincides with a number of top FIFA officials being arrested at a hotel in Switzerland in 2015 on suspicion of receiving bribes totalling $100m as well as Sepp Blatter’s resignation as role of president and the subsequent eight year ban he received from the FIFA Ethics Committee for conflict of interest and dereliction of duty over a 2m Swiss francs (£1.35m) “disloyal payment” the former FIFA president made to former UEFA president Michel Platini.

Sony, Johnson & Johnson and BP’s Castrol, have all pulled out of sponsoring this year’s tournament.

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