Soft drinks giant and top-tier Fifa sponsor Coca-Cola has expressed its displeasure with the ongoing controversy surrounding the report into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Coca-Cola has sponsored Fifa and international football’s global showpiece for four decades but has questioned the “conflicting perspectives" of the investigations into Russia and Qatar’s respective bids.
FIFA’s leading ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert cleared both bids but Michael Garcia, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, proceeded to criticise Eckert, claiming his conclusions were misrepresented – sparking outcry among several of world football’s senior figures.
In a statement released to UK newspaper the Sunday Times, Coca-Cola said: "Anything that detracts from the mission and ideals of the Fifa World Cup is a concern for us. The current conflicting perspectives regarding the investigation are disappointing. Our expectation is that this will be resolved quickly in a transparent and efficient manner."
A joint statement released by Eckert and Garcia on Friday confirmed the latter’s report had been delivered in full to Domenico Scala, the chairman of Fifa’s Audit and Compliant Committee, who will then recommend what evidence should be passed to the governing body’s Executive Committee.
Coca-Cola joins other key Fifa sponsors McDonalds and Adidas in voicing its concerns over recent events. Earlier this month, the Emirates airline confirmed it would not renew its top-tier sponsorship contract with Fifa, stating that the terms of a proposed extension did not meet its expectations. Sony is also said to be considering its position.
In January, financial services company Visa became the fifth of Fifa’s six top-tier commercial affiliates to have committed to both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, following Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai-Kia and Anheuser-Busch. In November 2013, sportswear company Adidas extended its long-term partnership until 2030.