Two separate investigations are being conducted by American and Swiss authorities into FIFA corruption.
Seven FIFA members have been arrested by Swiss police, acting on behalf of the US authorities, at the five-star Baur au Lac hotel, and 14 have been implicated.
US attorney general Loretta Lynch described the corruption of the 14 – nine of whom are current or former FIFA members – as ‘rampant, systemic and deep-rooted.’
Kia issued a statement today that read: ‘As a company that places the highest priority on ethical standards and transparency, Kia Motors is extremely concerned about the legal proceedings being taken against certain FIFA executives and will continue to monitor this situation closely.’
Hyundai has said: ‘We are extremely concerned about the legal proceedings being taken against certain FIFA executives and will continue to monitor the situation closely.’
Another major sponsor, Visa, said in a statement: ‘Our disappointment and concern with FIFA in light of these developments is profound. As a sponsor, we expect FIFA to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its organisation. This starts with rebuilding a culture with strong ethical practices in order to restore the reputation of the games for fans everywhere.
‘Visa became a sponsor of FIFA because the World Cup is one of the few truly global sporting events with the power to unite people from around the world through a common love of football.
‘Our sponsorship has always focused on supporting the teams, enabling a great fan experience, and inspiring communities to come together and celebrate the spirit of competition and personal achievement – and it is important that FIFA makes changes now, so the focus remain on these going forward. Should FIFA fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship.’
Sepp Blatter, who is still expected to win a fifth term as FIFA president in tomorrow’s election, has not made a public appearance since the remarkable dawn rain on the Zurich hotel yesterday.
Long-time backer Coca-Cola said the ‘serious allegations’ had ‘tarnished’ the World Cup.
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