Has the FIFA scandal affected club’s shareholders?

Monday, August 17, 2015

The FIFA scandal has shocked the world of soccer, but it has not only caused damage to the reputation of the people behind one of the world’s most popular sports; it has also affected those who have put their money into the game. Just how have they been affected by the FIFA scandal?

Sponsors and shareholders

It has been a common sight for decades to see the names of worldwide brands displayed on the boards that surround the soccer pitch, but the FIFA scandal may mean that some of these names disappear. These big names expect to be associated with an organization that has respectability and trustworthiness in the eyes of the world, but will they want to be associated with a body that has proved to be so very corrupt? Some of these companies and brands have acted swiftly, making public their concerns and threatening to withdraw their sponsorship should FIFA fail to make changes.

This could be down to the response of the sponsors’ shareholders. No one wants to be associated with a tarnished name, and shareholders could be putting pressure on the global brands to protect themselves from becoming guilty by association. Shareholders may demand that if FIFA wants to retain the brands’ sponsorship, then FIFA must be forced to set their house in order and clean up their management, rooting out any possibility of corruption.

The FIFA scandal could also impact a country’s economy. The next World Cup is set to be hosted by Qatar, and this has given a huge boost to the property sector, with developers building luxury accommodation and facilities. But this could all be for nothing if Qatar loses the right to host the event because of the FIFA scandal.

But could there be a silver lining to this very grey cloud? If the globe’s biggest names are pulling out of soccer sponsorship deals, it could mean that they become open to smaller, more localized sponsors. For example, those who had not considered investing in soccer before, either because the competition was too great or the cost too high, may find new opportunities to do so. Individual investors such as Azmi Mikati, who founded a telecommunications empire that operates in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, and who is listed in Forbes Magazine’s list of billionaires, may be able to break into the arena of sport sponsorship.

It may also present more opportunities for investors who have a sincere love of the game, rather than those who simply view investment in soccer as a means of marketing. Investors will begin to present themselves as benefitting soccer, rather than the other way round, and may seek to distance themselves from the FIFA management level to get back to the grass roots of the game.


There are always winners and losers whenever a story of corruption and scandal is exposed to the public gaze, but the FIFA scandal may pave way for a purer form of sponsorship in soccer that benefits not only the fans, but also the investors and, ultimately, the game itself.
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