June 9 - Oil company BP and the maker of Budweiser beer have joined the ranks of World Cup sponsors calling for soccer's rulers to tackle corruption allegations over the awarding of the 2022 tournament to Qatar. Joanna Partridge looks at what impact they may have.
Just days before kick-off at the World Cup in Brazil - and transport troubles in Sao Paulo. Metro workers in the city, which is hosting the opening game, say they'll keep on striking, despite a court ruling. Brazil's been rocked by protests ahead of the tournament. But that's not FIFA's biggest problem at the moment. Soccer's governing body is under increasing pressure over corruption allegations relating to the decision to award the 2022 tournament to Qatar. Oil company BP and the maker of Budweiser beer the latest World Cup sponsors to press FIFA to deal thoroughly with the bribery allegations. The calls followed similar statements by 4 of the 6 main sponsors - Adidas, Visa, Sony and Coca-Cola. Signs of unease from FIFA's corporate paymasters might make them sit up and listen. David Haigh is CEO of Brand Finance. SOUNDBITE: David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance, saying (English): "The attitude towards corporate governance has changed a lot in the last 20 years, and just about every major company will have extremely strong rules about compliance and governance, so they will be worried about damage to their brand if it's not sorted out quickly." But the popularity of soccer around the globe means any sponsors who pulled out would find many waiting to replace them. SOUNDBITE: David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance, saying (English): "People like Coca-Cola, Adidas, Emirates, Hyundai, do not put large amounts of money into the World Cup, the World Cup generally without believing they're going to get a big return on their investment." Over the past 2 weekends, Britain's Sunday Times has printed what it says are leaked documents showing bribes were paid to secure the event for Qatar. FIFA had already tasked former U.S. prosecutor Michael Garcia to investigate the decisions to award the Cup to Russia in 2018, and Qatar 4 years later. He'll submit his report to FIFA in around 6 weeks' time - roughly a week after the World Cup final. If he finds corruption, officials say Qatar could be stripped of the event. Both Qatar and Russia deny any wrongdoing. But there are potential pitfalls associated with most host countries. Even Brazil - the spiritual home of football - has struggled to get stadia and transport links ready in time. Pressure from corporate partners could make life more difficult for FIFA itself - which has been denying corruption allegations for years.