Dubai-based Emirates Airline will not renew its contract with FIFA as a top sponsor of the World Cup when it expires at the end of this year, and Japan’s Sony is also considering leaving, German publication Der Spiegel reports.
Together, the two companies accounted for half a billion dollars in sponsorship money for FIFA over the past several years.
Der Spiegel also reported that Qatar Airways is now negotiating with FIFA to sponsor the World Cup. The publication cited Secretary General Jerome Valcke as saying in September that he was in “promising talks” with the national carrier about a deal.
Qatar Airways, an official bid partner for the 2022 World Cup, was not immediately available for comment.
And a FIFA spokesperson told Doha News that “due to the ongoing negotiations, we cannot give any further information about future partners in this category at this stage.”
However, the spokesperson confirmed that Emirates was indeed not renewing its contract, and that “FIFA respects this.” He added that discussions to renew Sony’s contract are ongoing.
Emirates signed on to sponsor the World Cup from 2007 to 2014, for a reported $195 million. But the airline has been expressing concern about corruption at FIFA since at least 2011, with a spokesperson saying then:
“We are seriously thinking about not renewing our partnership with Fifa beyond 2014. We don’t get into politics, but we believe the situation with Fifa went beyond an internal problem and became much bigger.”
In addition to Emirates and Sony, there are currently four other top sponsors of the World Cup: Adidas, Visa, Coca-Cola and Hyundai/Kia.
Earlier this year, the major sponsors, except for Emirates, called on FIFA to address bribery allegations swirling around Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid. In a rare move, they argued that the accusations hurt the tournament’s image and demanded a full investigation.
Qatar has denied all corruption allegations. And at the time, such an investigation was already underway, as FIFA ethics chief Michael Garcia worked to prepare a lengthy report on both Qatar and Russia’s World Cup bids.
That document was submitted to a FIFA judge in September. At the time, Hans-Joachim Eckert said the report would be kept confidential, as per the football body’s code of conduct, and that his judgement would be made next year.
International media and Garcia himself have protested the move to keep the document under wraps, calling for FIFA to show greater transparency. Since then, Eckert has suggested he may release portions of the report to the public sometime this month.
Eckert has also said that regardless of his judgement, he does not have the authority to strip either Qatar or Russia of the World Cup.
Meanwhile, another ongoing problem regarding the 2022 World Cup – the weather – will see a new development today, when the European Club Association submits a proposal to move the tournament to April/May, instead of the traditional months of June/July.
The ECA argues that this would be less disruptive to their domestic seasons than pushing the games back all the way to November/December, which is another timeline under consideration as officials try to work out a way to avoid Qatar’s searing summer heat.
If the matches kick off at 6pm, 8:30pm and 11pm local time, the temperatures would be cooler and more manageable for players, the ECA said.
Another date being considered is January/February of 2022, but there are concerns about conflicts with the Winter Olympics.
A final decision on the 2022 World Cup dates is expected to be made in 2015.
Great marketing move by FIFA given all the positive PR regarding QATAR :-)…..oh hang on, maybe that is part of the kick back?
Why would Qatar Airways want to align themselves with the most corrupt sporting body in history? One in which the public holds it so low in their esteem even polticians rank above FIFA kleptocrats???
Is this the price to pay for FIFA burying its own investigation and not allowing anyone to see it. It all looks very suspcious.
It is abundantly clear that WC2022 will exist purely for the promotion of Qatar, at any cost, including cosying up to the world’s most corrupt organisation – and as the government owns Qatar Airways it’s a pretty logical development. And lets not forget that in everything that it does, the Qatari government is totally oblivious to any criticism of it’s actions – either it’s water off a duck’s back or culturally they don’t understand what the problem is (I think it’s the former actually)
I think it be equally divided really.
Is that a rhetorical question?
The more I think about it… maybe they really do know what they’re doing. If you assume that all Governments and Corporations are thoroughly corrupt, maybe the message they’re putting out there is this:
‘Hello, We Are Qatar. You’re Crooked, and so are we. Let’s Do Business’.
The decision not to release the Garcia report was probably the last straw for Emirates re both WC2018 and WC2022, and I can also understand Emirates’ withdrawal from a political viewpoint – in fact I could understand all the sponsors pulling out from a political viewpoint. Like the tainted Salt Lake City Olympics the truth will out eventually when someone decides it’s time to make a bit of money – it always does.
While tainted as you said, at least Salt Lake made sense as a site for the games.
Well, to all those hoping that Qatar would be stripped of the WC, you can now well and truly forget it!
money..money.. money ….moooooooooooney…money
FIFA and Qatar are fooling no-one. The whole worlds KNOWS, not suspects, that the decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup was corrupt. Denying it just makes both parties liars, everyone knows it. We all know that FIFA is corrupt, but i thought Qatar had more honour, more spine, more substance. It’s a proud nation and ought to stand for something better than this.
Qatar, you need to break ties with FIFA, not build more.
Does anyone honestly believe Qatar is a good place to hold a football tournament? Mosul would be better. The Polar Ice Caps would be better. There whole situation would be hilarious if it wasn’t so damaging for Qatar’s reputation across the world.
Make no mistake, Qatar. This is folly, and you’re making fools of yourselves perpetuating it.
According to the first paragraph I can tell you’ve been visiting the Qatar tourism site recently.
It looks like the financial cost to host the World Cup has just gone up for the State of Qatar…
NoooOOOooooo QR’s ticket prices are already expensive enough!
Announcing the 2022 World Cup brought to you buy Qatar Airways, Al Fardan BMW, Qatar Petroleum, Ras Gas, Aspetar Hospital and your neighborhood hair saloon.
This whole situation is beyond parody
May is still too hot to hold a World Cup. Even if the matches are held at night, the players would still have to practice at temperatures near 40C during the day. Probably still doable, but it will hurt performance, and may leave some European squads quite unhappy.
That Qatar Airways will step in is a given. 100% chance.