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Sponsor shows FIFA the cost of negative image prompts

With FIFA now saying that summer might not be the best time to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the organisation has just received an unexpected hit.

On Monday, the Dubai-based airline Emirates announced it will not be renewing its sponsorship arrangements with football's governing body.

One of FIFA's six main sponsors - which pay €145million between them - Emirates are among those concerned at bribery allegations in relation to the awarding of the 2018 tournament to Russia and the 2022 finals to Qatar. It's expected that Sony will also be pulling out of the deal.

Emirates sponsored the 2006 World Cup in Germany but the company is said to be concerned about FIFA's negative image.

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In another surprising sponsorship decision, HSBC has analysed data and decided it's not worth paying Tiger Woods a $3m (€2.4m) appearance fee for the HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi in January. With HSBC hosting the WGC-HSBC Champions event this week in China, where golf is enjoying phenomenal growth, the company's sponsorship chief asserts, "I don't believe any individual is bigger than the game."

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The annual investment in rugby in the U.S. by the International Rugby Board is almost €3. So how long will it be before we see Ireland play a Six Nations game in the States? In the manner of the American football season opener at Croke Park, a sold-out competitive match in Soldier's Field, Chicago, involving either Leinster or Munster can't be far off.

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It'll soon be a pub quiz question. Name the four head coaches who worked with Leeds United over a five-month period. Neil Redfearn, who watched his team lose 3-1 to Cardiff City on Saturday, is the latest. He replaced Darko Milanic, who took the job in September following the sacking of Dave Hockaday, who lasted just six games this season. Hockaday got the job in June when owner Massimo Cellino lost confidence in the respected Brian McDermott.

Cellino once sacked seven coaches in a year at Cagliari. At Watford, owner Gino Pozzo has had four managers in 37 days.

Beppe Sannino replaced Gianfranco Zola in December but was gone by September. His replacement, Oscar Garcia, supervised one match before quitting with chest pains. The former Scotland Billy McKinlay lasted just two games before being replaced by Slavisa Jokanovic. Watford are top of the Championship. Leeds United are at 19th.


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