Fifa may probe 'sponsored' Cahill goal celebration

Australia forward Tim Cahill celebrating his extra-time winner against Syria on Tuesday in a manner that deviated from the norm. It has emerged that Cahill might have been paid to do so to promote TripADeal, an online travel agency.
Australia forward Tim Cahill celebrating his extra-time winner against Syria on Tuesday in a manner that deviated from the norm. It has emerged that Cahill might have been paid to do so to promote TripADeal, an online travel agency.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Tim Cahill's goal celebrations are well known around the footballing world, but his latest effort could land him in hot water with Fifa, which may investigate what appeared to be a "sponsored" celebration.

An investigation could be opened into suggestions Cahill was paid to promote TripADeal, an online travel agency, after his extra-time winner against Syria in the Socceroos' World Cup qualifying win at the ANZ Stadium on Tuesday.

The striker's 109th-minute header - his second of the night and 50th goal for his country - sent Australia through to an inter-continental play-off with Honduras. But what happened in the immediate aftermath has prompted scrutiny from the world governing body.

After the ball hit the back of the net, Cahill eschewed his usual box-the-corner-flag celebration, instead opting to outstretch his arms, in what appeared to be a physical interpretation of an aeroplane. He then made a T sign with his hands.

TripADeal asked followers on social media soon after full-time if they had seen Cahill, its new brand ambassador, "doing the 'T' ".

Cahill replied to the post with eight emojis, including a football and an aeroplane. The post has since been deleted.

"Always a pleasure," he responded on his Instagram account.

"Amazing team performance and really proud of everyone tonight, team, staff and fans. #FEARLESS."

He added four aeroplane emojis and tagged the travel company.

The travel company is also a sponsor of Cahill's club, Melbourne City, and its logo appears on their shorts.

While there is nothing specific in Fifa regulations relating to a player using body parts to promote sponsors, Law 4 on players' equipment states a player will be sanctioned if they remove their jersey to reveal slogans or advertising.

"Fifa is analysing and reviewing the reports from the referees and the match commissioners for all matches in Fifa competitions," a Fifa spokesman told Sky Sports.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2017, with the headline 'Fifa may probe 'sponsored' Cahill goal celebration'. Print Edition | Subscribe