FIFA president Sepp Blatter has dismissed calls for a restructure, despite the plethora of suspensions and investigations dominating the media. This is by no means the first time the body’s reputation has been called into question, but with its sponsors voicing concerns, FIFA could now stand to loose the source of its funding.From 2011 to 2014 sponsorship generated 28.5 per cent of the body’s £3.7bn revenues. However, sponsors have begun wondering if it wouldn’t be best for business to cut ties with FIFA. Take Coca-Cola, for example. Before the corruption charges, Cola had already become associated with the 2022 World Cup and Qatar – where new stadiums and hotels were being constructed under appalling conditions. The company has much to loose given that it was the third most valuable global brand with an estimated value of $81.6bn in 2014. Furthermore, Cola-Cola’s ads are ubiquitous during the World Cup. Of course, this has benefited Cola-Cola as “soccer-mad nations” in Latin America just so happen to be the largest consumers of its products in the world. Simply put, scandals are bad for your reputation and those affiliated with you will start stepping backwards slowly but surely further away until you’re the only one left in the spotlight. On the surface of things, modern society is all about ethics, morals and personal character. One wrong move can wipe out positive brand associations built over years. The sports world has an abundance of such examples. Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and Lance Armstrong were deemed as some of the greatest sports stars in the world, until they each couldn’t seem to get away from their own scandals and were promptly dumped by their sponsors. Woods was exposed as a serial cheater, Bryant was charged with sexual assault and Armstrong was stripped of seven Tour De France titles after it was found out he was doping. The crux of the story, however, is that they have all maintained their professional status, as well as several of their fans. The same could be said of FIFA. The popularity of the product offered by FIFA is so great that no amount of toxicity to the brand could probably dent it. It obviously means there’s something worth learning in terms of how FIFA manages to do it. More intriguingly, however, is what we can learn from FIFA’s mismanagement of the situation.
Here’s what not to do:According to Danish FA chief Allan Hansen: “It is beyond doubt that FIFA has been harmed over the last few weeks and months. Words are not enough.” That’s because they let the problem fester. Even now the body has yet to address these problems. In 2010, the Sunday Times claimed FIFA executives offered to sell their votes in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting contest to undercover reporters. A month later, FIFA was still dismissing allegations when a BBC programme brought charges up against more of the body’s executive committee members. This led to Blatter, Asian confederation boss Bin Hammam and Concacaf president Jack Warner being investigated, followed by a leaked email from general secretary Jerome Valcke, who admitted Qatar had “bought” hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup. Read more about brand reputation:
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