Fifa to assuage sponsors on reform process

ST PETERSBURG • Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke has announced that the troubled organisation will meet key sponsors who have voiced displeasure at a corruption scandal engulfing football's world governing body.

The Frenchman, speaking in St Petersburg on the eve of today's Uefa World Cup qualification draw, said Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Visa had sent letters voicing their dissatisfaction after corruption charges were filed against seven Fifa officials in the United States.

"There will be a meeting next in August between all the Fifa partners and Fifa along with the legal and marketing departments," said Valcke. "The issue is to make sure from their side that the reform process ongoing should be through an independent body.

"That was discussed with the presidents of the confederations, with (Sepp) Blatter and there will be more information about this task force and how it will act in the next weeks."

Fifa president Blatter had confirmed earlier this week that he would step down after 17 years in the job when a new president is elected on Feb 26.


The current situation doesn't help to finalise any new agreements, that is a fact. I am sure, until the next election, there will be no major announcements.

JEROME VALCKE, Fifa general secretary, who does not expect any new sponsor to come on board until new leaders took over

The 79-year-old Swiss also outlined his reforms for the disgraced organisation, including limits on terms for leaders, tougher background checks on executive-committee members and the publication of salaries of top officials.

However, Visa chief executive Charlie Scharf believes that meaningful reform can take place only once Blatter is removed.

"Two things need to happen to ensure credible reform," he said in a statement on Friday. "First, an independent, third-party commission led by one or more impartial leaders is critical to formulate reforms. Second, we believe no meaningful reform can be made under Fifa's existing leadership."

Valcke, 54, reiterates that he will also step aside when a new president is elected.

"Whoever the new president is should have a new general secretary because it is the most important relationship for any organisation," he said.

Valcke added that the current instability at Fifa meant it was unlikely that any new major sponsor would be signed up before February's election despite ongoing negotiations with two major international companies.

"The current situation doesn't help to finalise any new agreements, that is a fact. I am sure, until the next election, there will be no major announcements," he said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2015, with the headline 'Fifa to assuage sponsors on reform process'. Subscribe