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Friday Kickoff: FIFA sponsors concerned; Beckenbauer, 4 others under investigation; and more

SeppBlatterFIFA5-2014 (AFP)


In the aftermath of SONY ending their long-term involvement with FIFA as a sponsor, other “official sponsors” are expressing their concerns with the recent state of the organization.

The Wall St. Journal reports that Visa, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola are all worried with the current state of affairs at FIFA, after a summary of a probe into the bidding process of the 2018-2022 World Cups found Russia and Qatar, the World Cup bidding winners, not guilty of any allegations against them.

Both Visa and McDonalds asked FIFA for “greater transparency” while Coca-Cola wished for a speedy resolution to the conflict over the bidding process.

Budweiser and Adidas meanwhile told the WSJ that they would stand by FIFA during its latest crisis.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Friday:


Franz Beckenbauer is back in the news again for all the wrong reasons.

According to multiple reports, including the Associated Press, the former German National Team star is one of five current or former FIFA executives that are under investigation as part of Michael Garcia’s probe into the 2018-2022 World Cup bidding process.

In addition to Beckenbauer, FIFA vice president Angel Maria Villar of Spain, Michel D’Hooghe of Belgium, Worawi Makudi of Thailand and Harold Mayne-Nichols of Chile are under investigation.

FIFA refused to confirm or deny that those individuals were under investigation, as their identities are supposed to remain confidential. After Garcia appealed the summary compiled by Hans-Joachim Eckert to FIFA, both Garcia and Eckert agreed to give the report to FIFA’s independent audit and compliance official, Domenico Scala, who will submit a report to the FIFA Executive Committee.


Some of the world’s top players headline a star-studded midfielder shortlist for the FIFPro World XI.

FIFA released the 15-player shortlist on Friday morning and it includes the likes of Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas, Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Juventus trio Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, and Arturo Vidal, and Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta.

Also included on the list are Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, Real Madrid trio Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez, and Luka Modric, Barcelona’s Xavi, Arsenal’s Mesut Özil, Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria, and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.

Three midfielders will be selected for the FIFPro World XI, which will be revealed on Jan. 12 at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich.


FIFA have suspended former All India Football Federation general secretary Alberto Colaco from soccer-related activities for a three-year period for accepting bribes. (REPORT)

Real Madrid are moving forward with their desire to sign Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva, hoping to sign him for €12 million instead of €15, the number the Brazilian club want for him. (REPORT)

Roy Keane has left his position as assistant manager of Aston Villa with immediate effect. (REPORT)

PSG head coach Laurent Blanc is reportedly interested in signing Christian Eriksen from Tottenham. (REPORT)

Bastia forward Brandao has been handed a jail sentence for a head butt that injured PSG midfielder Thiago Motta. (REPORT)


What do you think of these reports? Do you anticipate more sponsors pulling out? What do you see happening with the investigation into the FIFA officials?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Between chuck blazer, and American sponsorship supporting FIFA, maybe the best thing to do is worry about USA improving on the pitch.

    The next two world cups are going to be taking place in Russia and in Qatar, and we should stop worrying about this, because it is taking away from the real cause, which is winning.

    Besides, leagues are already switching to an MLS calendar, and by 2022 my guess is more countries will be on this schedule, and this will make a “winter” World Cup easily acceptable.

    We have huge military bases in Qatar and what a great advantage, as of course, we need all the advantages we can get.

  2. So I am convinced. This is the end for Sepp. In the past, FIFA scandals were, for the most part, the domain of sports news publications. They are now getting regular headlines throughout the news verticals– finance, politics, sports.. in all the most credible global newspapers and media outlets. And it isn’t going away. At all.

    No way on earth can he sustain 8 years of this. He’ll be looking for the exit soon, if he isn’t already.

      • But, I’ve read that Sepp didn’t vote for Qatar. And, Platini did!
        At the moment, Platini is winning the political power game, and you would imagine he is enjoying watching Blatter sweat through one crisis after another. It’s almost enough to make you forget that it was Platini, and not Blatter, who voted for Qatar in the first place.

        Replacing Sepp with Platini doesn’t mean transparency, accountability or the end of corruption.

      • Who Sepp voted for proves nothing. It was perhaps a luxury he could afford. Or pehaps he realized that Qatar had bought more votes than he had imagined, and was trying to avert a disaster he hadn’t actually contemplated being realized. Why don’t we know? If he is just a blameless guy who voted for the US, why is he is the one keeping the lid on it?

        He is the guy who enables the system, and is the one accountable for the protocals and practices. The mere fact that he disclosed his vote is troubling — why not make it an

        I don’t know why you think it will be Platini who replaces Blatter. He has not expressed an interest in the presidency in the past, and he is hardly globally popular. I don’t think he’s in line for it…. but you’re right in the sense that the Qatar vote would seal the deal. It won’t be him.

      • My understanding that the votes are not public. Accordingly, aside from Blatter’s self-serving statement that he voted for the US, we don’t really know how he (or any other voter) voted.

      • It’s true,

        Sepp Blatter wanted the 2022 World Cup to come to the USA, but he’s not going to say that too loudly because it would ruin all the political gains he’s made in Africa and Asia.

        He knew though that he could make the most money, via sponsors and what not, through the USA, and there would be no issue of mass protests like we saw in Brazil, because while the World Cup is for sure popular, it’s still not something that’s popular enough to get the masses on the streets in the tens of thousands and more. At least as of 2014…in 2022 that may change!

      • What! The world cup is indeed popular enough to get the masses on the streets in the tens of thousands and more, much more.

        In 2006 there were over a million people in the streets in front of the Brandenburg Gate. There were over 40 thousand gathering in the Olympic park area of Munich for every game.

      • Hopefully, the masses take the streets to get rid of their dictator, Putin, and make Russia a free, respectable, democratic and prosperous nation.

      • Neither Sepp nor the rest of the roaches infesting FIFA make their funny money through corporate sponsor deals which are clear cut, out front and go into the FIFA books. It is through massive stadium and infrastructure projects, where the big bucks are made with political shenanigans, multiple “bids” and unmonitored billions of dollars exchanging hands along with special favors. Next to war, nothing has more potential than a world cup or olympics in this regard….. particularly in the 3rd world.

        Sepp is certainly a figurehead/symbol of this corruption, but any exterminator will ell you…. if you can see one roach, you can bet there is already an infestation and millions more. Certainly its satisfying to squish a roach, but on a practical level, the only way to eradicate them is to starve them, remove the food source.

      • This is the real Paul over here :). I don’t know what this guy is saying. The world cup is definitely big enough to get the masses in the streets. I lived in Germany and France and saw it happen first hand. Thousands used to gather in parks and lots to watch game in France ’98. I still have pictures.

      • As addendum, Platini has indeed expressed interest in the FIFA presidency and only decided not to run when Blatter said he would run again. There is definitely a Blatter faction and an anti-Blatter (led by Platini this time). Unfortunately, neither part is clean.

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