DUBAI (Reuters) - Emirates airline, a sponsor of FIFA tournaments including the World Cup, said it was disappointed by the corruption scandal that has erupted at world soccer’s governing body.
“Emirates, like all football fans around the world, is disappointed with the issues that are currently surrounding the administration of the sport,” Boutros Boutros, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president for corporate communications, said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
The airline’s partnership with FIFA started with the 2006 World Cup in Germany and its contract as an official sponsor runs until the end of the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
“We hope that these issues will be resolved as soon as possible and the outcome will be in the interest of the game and sport in general,” Boutros added.
The statement did not clarify if the airline was reviewing its association with FIFA.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter, facing a deepening corruption scandal including accusations that Qatar ‘bought’ the right to host the 2022 World Cup, denied there was a crisis and described the problems as local difficulties on Monday.
Blatter is scheduled to stand unopposed for a fourth term at a FIFA election on Wednesday after his only rival in the vote, Asian soccer chief Mohamed bin Hammam, withdrew on Sunday and was later suspended by the body’s ethics committee amid cash-for-votes allegations.
However, anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International
called on the soccer governing body to call off the elections on Tuesday and the English Football Association asked FIFA to postpone the vote because of the ongoing crisis.
Emirates’s comments follow those made on Monday by corporate sponsors Coca-Cola Co and German sportswear maker Adidas, who warned concern about allegations of corruption within FIFA could harm the game.
Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by John O'Brien