ZURICH, Switzerland, July 24 (UPI) -- International soccer governing body FIFA admitted its corruption scandal has slowed its search for new corporate sponsors.
A meeting of FIFA and its major underwriters is scheduled for August.
"The current situation doesn't help to finalize any new agreements," said FIFA Secretary-General Mark Valcke. "Clearly, there were a number of sponsors, mainly three, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Visa, who... sent a letter to FIFA, asking for information. Two or three days ago we received a letter from all of them offering to meet together, so there will there will be a meeting next month."
The organization, which promotes soccer through, among other measures, tournaments leading to its World Cup, relies on several major sponsors who contribute millions of dollars annually to FIFA. Its "top tier sponsors" include Adidas, Coca-Cola, the Russian energy company Gazprom, Hyundai/Kia and Visa; Budweiser and McDonalds are major World Cup sponsors.
Visa Inc. chief executive Charlie Scharf publicly called for new FIFA leadership Thursday telling investors during a conference call, "We view the stewardship of our company, our brand, and our clients with the utmost importance and try to hold ourselves to the highest standards. We seek to partner with those who think and act like us. I don't believe that FIFA is living up to these standards."
California-based Visa announced in May it would review its involvement with FIFA and expressed "profound" disappointment after several FIFA executives were indicted, earlier in 2015, on corruption, racketeering and money laundering charges. Earlier this week FIFA announced an 11-person panel to examine the corruption issue.