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Thursday 8 December 2016

VISA threatens to end sponsorship with World Cup over FIFA arrests

FIFA President Sepp Blatter
FIFA President Sepp Blatter

World Cup sponsor VISA has threatened to end its partnership with FIFA over the latest crisis to engulf the world governing body.

VISA said its "disappointment and concern" was profound and called for "swift and immediate" action in the wake of a wave of arrests of football officials - including two FIFA vice-presidents - in Zurich on Wednesday on bribery, fraud and money-laundering charges following an FBI investigation.

A host of fellow sponsors have issued statements after a dramatic day in both Switzerland and the United States on Wednesday, but VISA's was the most strongly-worded of the lot.

A statement from VISA said: "Our disappointment and concern with FIFA in light of (Wednesday's) developments is profound.

"As a sponsor, we expect FIFA to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its organisation. This starts with rebuilding a culture with strong ethical practices in order to restore the reputation of the games for fans everywhere.

"VISA became a sponsor of FIFA because the World Cup is one of the few truly global sporting events with the power to unite people from around the world through a common love of football.

"Our sponsorship has always focused on supporting the teams, enabling a great fan experience, and inspiring communities to come together and celebrate the spirit of competition and personal achievement - and it is important that FIFA makes changes now, so that the focus remain on these going forward. Should FIFA fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship."

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