Fifa’s sponsors need to reestablish their relationship before the next World Cup

Barely a week after the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, it will likely go down in history as the most controversial tournament of all time.

From the silly ramblings of a Fifa boss, TV pundits unleashing their hosts and severe restrictions on filming local TV footage, to alcohol bans in stadiums, teams refusing to sing national anthems and the ban on OneLove -Rainbow Bracelets is a tournament like no other.

It’s also one that sponsors are quick to forget.

But it would always be like this. Anyone in the upper echelons of Fifa and the sponsorship world who thought otherwise was either deluded or disingenuous. Or both.

Since Fifa controversially awarded the rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup to Russia and Qatar in 2010, a stench has hung over their headquarters in Switzerland. While Fifa’s old regime may have evolved since then, allegations of foul play remain.

Back in 2015, Fifa’s then-sponsors Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, BP, Sony and Visa called for an investigation into Qatar’s winning the 2022 World Cup, fearing a “negative tenor” regarding corruption allegations.

Whether they were mundane tick-offs or genuine concern, they were responding to a US Department of Justice investigation into how football officials award television and marketing deals. The investigation resulted in at least 25 Fifa executives being charged with “their involvement in a 24-year scheme to enrich international football’s corruption”.

Visa, which had paid an estimated $185 million to sponsor Fifa by the 2022 World Cup, was the loudest. His statement at the time read: “Our disappointment and concern for Fifa in light of today’s developments is profound. As a sponsor, we expect Fifa to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within their organisation. This begins with rebuilding a culture of strong ethical practices to restore the games reputation for fans everywhere.”

Then, in 2020, the US Department of Justice alleged officials from Russia and Qatar bribed voting Fifa members to support their bids. These claims were, of course, vehemently denied by both countries. And that was the end of it.

What is amazing about all of this is that sponsors, including many leading global brands, have remained loyal to Fifa.

A week before the World Cup kicked off in Doha, Fifa announced that it had managed to fill all available global and regional sponsorship slots. As the organization reports in Four-Year Cycles, it also announced that it has raised a massive $7.5 billion in revenue from commercial sponsorship deals associated with the 2022 World Cup. Surprisingly, this was a billion dollars more than in the previous World Cup cycle.

The US Department of Justice claimed officials from Russia and Qatar bribed voting members of Fifa to support their bids

The bulk of Fifa’s revenue comes from its Tier 1 partners, which include Coca Cola, Visa, Hyundai, Wanda, Adidas, Qatar Airways and Qatar Energy. Among the partners is a layer of global and regional sponsors that include McDonald’s, Budweiser, Vivo, Hisense, and betting company Betano. They have been joined for the 2022 tournament by local Qatar bank QNB and local telecom company Ooredoo.

Meanwhile, during Sepp Blatter’s tenure, key broadcast deals for this year’s tournament were signed with Fox in the United States and Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports.

While critics of the Qatar World Cup are quick to draw analogies with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour, which is, let’s face it, a cynical and grandiose sports washer, there’s much more at stake for the credibility of brands that nail their colors fifa mast.

In the plush hallways of FIFA’s Zurich headquarters, money has always been the talker, but sometimes for the wrong reasons. With the World Cup set to be shared by Canada, Mexico and the United States in four years’ time, a complete recalibration of the relationship between sponsors and football’s most powerful organization should be high on the agenda after Qatar. It’s certainly long overdue

A 1 million euro Christmas roll call

Christmas FM returns to the airwaves next week and this year organizers have signed Cadbury, Coca-Cola and An Post as main sponsors.

The station broadcasts non-stop Christmas music 24/7 from the Clayton Hotel, Liffey Valley, Dublin and hopes to raise over €1million over the next three years for its four charity partners Barnardos, Make-A-Wish Ireland, Barretstown and The Civic Foundation .

Rebranded by Honey+Buzz

Dublin-based experience agency Honey+Buzz has changed its name to Allied Global Marketing (AGM).

The name change follows its 2021 acquisition by US-headquartered marketing services group AGM.

In addition to the name change, the agency’s co-founders and brothers, Jonny and Paddy Davis, have also assumed new senior global positions as Executive Vice Presidents of AGM’s Brand Experience Division. Fifa’s sponsors need to reestablish their relationship before the next World Cup

Fry Electronics Team

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