Coca-Cola and McDonald's have called on FIFA president Sepp Blatter to stand down from his post immediately.
Coca-Cola released the following statement on Friday:
“For the benefit of the game, The Coca-Cola Company is calling for FIFA President Joseph Blatter to step down immediately so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest. Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish. FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach.”
McDonald's also released a statement calling for Blatter to resign:
“The events of recent weeks have continued to diminish the reputation of FIFA and public confidence in its leadership. We believe it would be in the best interest of the game for FIFA President Sepp Blatter to step down immediately so that the reform process can proceed with the credibility that is needed.”
On Friday afternoon, fellow-FIFA sponsors VISA and Budweiser also called for Blatter's immediate departure from the organization.
Last week, Swiss authorities opened a criminal investigation into Blatter for criminal mismanagement and misappropriation of FIFA money.
In June, Blatter announced that he would step down from the FIFA presidency, though not immediately. At the time, Coca-Cola said, “We believe this decision will help FIFA transform itself rapidly into a much-needed 21st Century structure and institution.”
Coca-Cola is one of FIFA's major sponsors for the World Cup.
Blatter's June announcement that he would step down came just days after he was elected to serve a fifth term at the helm of the organization. On May 27, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted 14 soccer officials on charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies. The Department of Justice accused FIFA of decades of “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” corruption by members of world soccer's governing body.
This week, Blatter told FIFA officials that he does not intend on resigning until February.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Sept. 14 that the United States’ investigation into FIFA was still ongoing.
If Blatter steps down before the February special election, Issa Hayatou, the head of African soccer and the most senior FIFA vice president, would take his place.
FIFA's sponsors, which include Coca-Cola, McDonald's, VISA, Budweiser, Adidas, Gazprom, Hyundai and Kia, contribute more than $1 billion every World Cup.
- Christopher Chavez