Fifa sponsors make fresh call for ‘independent oversight’ in reform process

Five leading sponsors of football’s world governing body, Fifa, have stated that any reforms that take place within the organisation should be subject to “independent oversight”.

In a an open letter, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa, Adidas and Anheuser-Busch InBev urged Fifa to be transparent when it comes to outlining its plans for reform.

A Fifa Reform Committee was established in light of the corruption scandal surrounding the organisation. The committee is seeking to restore Fifa’s position of credibility within the world game. Sponsors were promised a place on the committee but have instead only been offered seats on an advisory board, which is yet to be appointed.

The letter, published yesterday (Tuesday), comes as the Fifa Executive Committee meets this week to discuss the reform process.

The letter, published on Coca-Cola’s website, read: “We know that you, the Executive Committee members, will soon be considering a list of reforms aimed at strengthening Fifa’s governance. We urge you to embrace positive changes and also recognise that this is just one step toward creating a credible future for Fifa.

“We want to emphasise to you the values and characteristics that we believe should be incorporated through the reforms. Transparency, accountability, respect for human rights, integrity, leadership and gender equality are crucial to the future of Fifa.”

The sponsors did praise the Reform Committee for the work it has done so far but went on to again emphasise the importance of independent oversight.

“We are aware of the positive work that the Reform Committee has been doing on governance reform, but we still believe any reforms should be subject to independent oversight,” the letter added. “It has also become clear to us that such independent oversight needs to run long-term through the implementation and evolution of the reform process. We encourage you to become champions of this independent oversight as it will only enhance Fifa’s credibility.”

Reform and anti-corruption ideas being agreed this week will be put to the Fifa Congress on February 26, when the new president of world football’s governing body will also be elected.

The sponsors’ letter said: “The actions you take with this first round of reform proposals will set the tone for the full Congress to get behind the reform process.”

Adidas, Coca-Cola and Visa serve as three of five top-tier Fifa Partners. AB InBev and McDonald’s hold World Cup sponsor status.