MIAMI • Two top sponsors of Fifa and its World Cup tournaments have ratcheted up pressure on the global football body to undertake major reforms as a corruption scandal cast a lengthening shadow over the sport.
Coca-Cola and McDonald's both made it clear that they are deeply unhappy with the way Fifa is governed and want major change.
Friday's intervention comes only days ahead of tomorrow's crucial Fifa executive committee meeting at which both possible reforms and a timetable to elect a new president to replace Sepp Blatter, who has run Fifa for 17 years, will be discussed.
Fifa has been the subject of a series of allegations in the media - and in books - for many years.
The scandal came to a head in May when United States prosecutors indicted nine football officials, most of whom had Fifa positions, and five marketing and broadcasting company executives on a range of bribery-related offences.
Coca-Cola urged Zurich-based Fifa to support the creation of an independent body to reform the way it is run.
And McDonald's said it has told Fifa that there needs to be "meaningful changes to restore trust and credibility with fans and sponsors alike," stressing that Fifa's internal controls and compliance culture "are inconsistent with expectations McDonald's has for its business partners throughout the world".
Responding to the comments from Coca-Cola and McDonald's, a spokesman for Fifa said: "Fifa values the input of its commercial affiliates as the organisation continues to cooperate with the ongoing investigations by US and Swiss authorities."
A number of anti-corruption groups, including Transparency International, also issued calls this week for Fifa's reform process to be handled by an independent body.
"It is time for other sponsors to speak out, step up and back the ball for an independent reform commission," said Transparency International spokesman Neil Martinson.