Ahead of FIFA election, sponsor Visa threatens to pull out

May 28, 2015, 2:54 AM
FILE – This is a Wednesday, June 1, 2011 file photo of FIFA president Joseph Blatter, right, ...
FILE - This is a Wednesday, June 1, 2011 file photo of FIFA president Joseph Blatter, right, welcomes former CONCACAF secretary general Chuck Blazer prior to the 61st FIFA Congress held at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland. Blazer was one of four men who pleaded guilty in the Justice Department's corruption investigation into FIFA announced Wednesday May 27, 2015. (Keystone, Patrick B. Kraemer, File via AP)
(Keystone, Patrick B. Kraemer, File via AP)

ZURICH (AP) — Sepp Blatter was preparing for the FIFA presidential election with world soccer reeling from the arrest of several officials and a key sponsor threatening to cut ties with the scandal-tainted organization.

In the two-pronged criminal investigations, Swiss prosecutors on Thursday were planning to question 10 members of the FIFA executive committee who voted on the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Separately, seven soccer officials remained in custody in Zurich as part of an American investigation into soccer corruption.

The officials were all in Zurich for the FIFA Congress, which will see Blatter challenged by Prince Ali of Jordan for the presidency on Friday. The gathering of the 209 soccer nations starts later Thursday but European body UEFA was still deciding whether to boycott the congress over the worst scandal in FIFA’s 111-year history.

Visa became the first sponsor to warn that it could pull out of its FIFA contract, which is worth at least $25 million a year.

The credit card company is demanding immediate steps by FIFA aimed at “rebuilding a culture with strong ethical practices in order to restore the reputation of the games for fans everywhere.”

“It is important that FIFA makes changes now, so that the focus remain(s) on these going forward,” Visa said in a statement. “Should FIFA fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship.”

The English Football Association, which has been at the forefront of opposition to Blatter for years, hopes other sponsors issue warnings as strident as Visa’s.

“This is about one thing: How do you re-build the reputation of FIFA and turn it into an open, fair and honest organization with Blatter still at the helm,” FA chairman Greg Dyke said. “It will be interesting to see how many other sponsors come out and say things like that (Visa).”


Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

World News

A fisherman watches smoke rise after Russian forces launched a missile attack on a military unit in...
Associated Press

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters hit by drone strike

An explosive device carried by a makeshift drone blew up Sunday at the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean Peninsula.
9 days ago
Medical syringes are seen with 'Monkeypox' sign displayed on a screen in the backgound in this illu...
Associated Press

Monkeypox declared a global emergency by UN health agency

The expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that qualifies as a global emergency.
17 days ago
Chinese paramilitary policemen march in front of the Japanese embassy where the Japanese flag is fl...
Associated Press

Japan’s ex-leader Shinzo Abe assassinated during a speech

TOKYO (AP) — Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated Friday on a street in western Japan by a gunman who opened fire on him from behind as he delivered a campaign speech — an attack that stunned a nation with some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere. The 67-year-old Abe, who was Japan’s […]
1 month ago
Firefighters hose down a burning car after a strike hit a residential area, in Kramatorsk, Donetsk ...
Associated Press

Russia taking ‘operational pause’ in Ukraine, analysts say

Analysts say Russia may be taking an "operational pause" in eastern Ukraine to reassemble forces for a significant offensive.
1 month ago
Prime Minister Boris Johnson enters 10 Downing Street, after reading a statement in London, Thursda...
Associated Press

One scandal too many: British PM Boris Johnson resigns

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation Thursday after droves of top government officials quit over the latest scandal to engulf him, marking an end to three tumultuous years in which he tried to bluster his way through one ethical lapse after another. Months of defiance ended almost with a shrug as […]
1 month ago
Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Ahead of FIFA election, sponsor Visa threatens to pull out