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Sony set to cut ties with Fifa

Japanese electronics giant Sony is set to end its eight-year stint as a top-tier sponsor of football’s world governing body Fifa as it focuses on structural reforms, according to multiple reports.

Sony agreed an eight-year contract in 2005, taking in the 2010 and 2014 Fifa World Cups among sales and marketing drives for more than 40 tournaments globally. The Y33bn (€227m/$283m) eight-year partnership expires this year.

The Reuters news agency and Japanese business daily Nikkei Asian Review have both reported that Sony will pass up on extending its relationship with Fifa as it aims to cut costs in the wake of net losses totalling almost $1bn for the period April-September.

In response to the stories, a Sony spokeswoman told the AFP news agency: “Our company wants to refrain from commenting.” Nikkei claimed that Korean rival Samsung is a candidate to replace Sony on Fifa’s roster.

Earlier this month, the Emirates airline confirmed that it won’t renew its top-tier contract with Fifa, stating that the terms of a proposed extension did not meet its expectations, while the governing body has come in for criticism from a host of its commercial backers amid ongoing controversy regarding the fall-out from a report in to the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Fifa’s ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert said that Michael Garcia’s report absolved the successful respective bids from Russia and Qatar before Garcia, the prosecutor leading the investigation, claimed his findings had been misrepresented.

Domenico Scala, the chairman of Fifa’s Audit and Compliant Committee, is currently examining Garcia’s report in full amid growing discontent form the global football community and Coca-Cola this week joined fellow key Fifa sponsors Adidas and McDonald’s in criticising its handling of the affair.

Adidas and Coca-Cola, along with Hyundai-Kia, Visa and Anheuser-Busch are secured as Fifa top tier partners for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups – Adidas’ commitment part of a long-term deal running until 2030, which was signed last year.