SAO PAULO (AP) — In a rare comment on FIFA issues by World Cup sponsors, Adidas said it was concerned about renewed allegations of corruption and Visa called for football's governing body to show strong ethics.
"The negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners," Adidas said in a statement.
The German company spoke out following renewed claims of financial wrongdoing linked to former FIFA board member Mohamed bin Hammam and Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup hosting bid.
The Sunday Times has published claims in a second week of reports drawn from Bin Hammam's emails and documents, which previously alleged he paid millions of dollars to buy support from African football officials.
The newspaper said the former Asian football leader arranged government-level talks for Thailand's FIFA executive Worawi Makudi — his longtime ally on FIFA's executive committee, and a World Cup voter — to discuss a natural gas sale which was "potentially worth tens of millions of dollars to Thailand."
Adidas said it is "confident that the matter is being dealt with as a priority" by FIFA's ethics committee.
The World Cup ball provider issued a similarly worded statement in June 2011 when FIFA President Sepp Blatter was re-elected unopposed after his Qatari opponent Bin Hammam was implicated in bribing voters.
FIFA ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia has said he will close the information-gathering phase of his investigation on Monday. He should update FIFA's 209 member countries on his work on Wednesday at their annual congress in Sao Paulo.
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