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Corporates making waves

Coca-Cola intervenes in reform of Fifa

Coca Cola World CupCoca-Cola has told Fifa, world football’s governing body, it wants immediate reform of the crisis-hit organisation or else it may walk away.

They want root-and-branch reform led by “one or more eminent, impartial leaders”.

It would involve a prominent figure from outside Fifa, from business or politics, to oversee a wholesale change in its structure and governance.

 

The US drinks giant is demanding action to help reform Fifa’s governance and its human rights practices.

Coca-Cola says: “We believe that establishing this independent commission will be the most credible way for Fifa to approach its reform process and is necessary to build back the trust it has lost.

“We are calling for this approach out of our deep commitment to ethics and human rights and in the interest of seeing Fifa succeed.”

The move comes ahead of a meeting of Fifa’s executive committee on Monday with outgoing president Sepp Blatter.

Critics of Fifa have argued that it is so discredited that reform should be taken out of the body’s control, and they will be encouraged by Coca-Cola’s move.

Trade unions and campaign groups have written to Fifa’s eight biggest commercial partners – Adidas, Gazprom, Hyundai, Kia, McDonald’s, Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Visa – asking them to speak out about the treatment of workers in Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup.

Fifa is the subject of two criminal investigations in the US and Switzerland into allegations of corruption which led to the arrest of senior football officials, and the resignation of Blatter.

Another sponsor, fast-food giant McDonald’s, said today it had expressed its concerns directly to Fifa.

“We believe Fifa internal controls and compliance culture are inconsistent with expectations McDonald’s has for its business partners throughout the world.

“Fifa must now implement meaningful changes to restore trust and credibility with fans and sponsors alike. The world expects concrete actions and so does McDonald’s.”

ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow has called on other sponsors to follow Coca-Cola’s lead.

“It’s now time for the other sponsors such as Visa, Adidas and McDonalds to take a stand against corruption and put the game back on track,” she said.

“Football and other sports carry the passions of billions around the world, can effect real change and solidarity and corruption has no place in this. We back the leadership of Coca-Cola and call on the FIFA executive to do the right thing on Monday.

“An external reform commission lead by a man like Kofi Annan supported by men and women including sports leaders and players with similar integrity can make the difference.”

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