Adidas call for FIFA reform, not Blatter resignation

Published October 3rd, 2015 - 05:58 GMT

FIFA sponsor adidas called Saturday for "fundamental changes" to football's governing body but in contrast to other major sponsors is not urging its president Joseph Blatter to step down.

Major sponsors Coca-Cola, Visa, Budweiser and McDonald's had called late Friday for Blatter to go immediately.

The four companies each issued statements saying Blatter should resign after Swiss criminal proceedings were opened against him last week.

However Oliver Brueggen, a spokesman for adidas, the German sports clothing company, told dpa: "As has been stressed several times in the past fundamental changes are needed at FIFA.

"This is why the reform process which has been introduced has to be continued transparently and swiftly."

Adidas is one of FIFA's five top-tier partners, alongside Coca-Cola, Visa, Hyundai/Kia Motors and Gazprom.

Coca-Cola was the first sponsor to advise Blatter to quit immediately, saying: "For the benefit of the game, the Coca-Cola Company is calling for FIFA president Joseph Blatter to step down immediately so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest.

"Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish. FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach."

Visa, Budweiser and McDonald's joined the call for Blatter to resign.

Visa said "no meaningful reform can be made under FIFA's existing leadership. And given the events of last week, it's clear it would be in the best interests of FIFA and the sport for Sepp Blatter to step down immediately."

The credit card company called for "an independent, third-party commission led by one or more impartial leaders is critical to formulate reforms."

Despite the calls, Blatter's lawyer Richard Cullen said in a statement that Blatter, who is due to step down at a FIFA extraordinary congress on February 26, would not be resigning.

"While Coca-Cola is a valued sponsor of FIFA, Mr. Blatter respectfully disagrees with its position and believes firmly that his leaving office now would not be in the best interest of FIFA nor would it advance the process of reform and therefore, he will not resign," he said.

Blatter, 79, is being investigated by the Swiss in connection with the award of a (likely TV) contract in 2005 and a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (2.06 million dollars) to UEFA boss Michel Platini in 2011 for work done for FIFA between 1999 and 2002.

Both have denied any wrongdoing.

Blatter was elected for a fifth term as FIFA president at the end of May but offered to give up his mandate just days later as the organization was hit by a series of accusations. His successor will be elected at FIFA's extraordinary coingress in Zurich on February 26.

The United States indicted 14 current and former FIFA officials on corruption charges while FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was suspended last month over allegations surrounding ticket sales.

A separate Swiss investigation is also looking into the bidding process which saw the 2018 and 2022 World Cups awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.

© 2022 dpa GmbH

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