NEW YORK, December 23. /TASS/. FIFA’s American sponsors are buffing in urging a change at the organization, the banned president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
"Companies, commercial partners are queuing up to get in," Mr. Blatter said. "If the Americans want to leave, others will come. But they don’t want to get out...They won’t leave," he said in the interview.
On October 3, several sponsors called for Sepp Blatter to resign, among them American Coca-Cola Co., McDonald’s Corp, Visa, as well as Anheuser-Busch. However, as the Wall Street Journal notes, none of the sponsors have ended their FIFA marketing deals.
"Mr. Blatter’s comments do not reflect the gravity of the situation for FIFA and we previously called for him to step down," the edition quotes a McDonald’s spokeswoman as saying. "FIFA must now urgently implement robust and meaningful reforms with appropriate independent oversight," she said.
Coca-Cola and Visa have declined to comment.
The suspended FIFA and UEFA presidents, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini respectively, have been both banned for eight years by FIFA's Ethics Committee, the press service of the world’s football governing body said in a statement on Monday.
Blatter, 79, was on May 29 re-elected for a fifth term. However, on June 2, Blatter - at the helm of FIFA since 1998 - announced his plans to resign, noting that he would remain president until new elections due on February 26 next year.
In September, Blatter and Platini were suspended from their posts as part of the investigation into corruption allegations against them. Among a number of corruption allegations, Blatter is suspected of a disloyal payment of 2 million Swiss francs to UEFA President Platini in February 2011.
According to Monday’s statement from FIFA’s Ethics Committee: "The proceedings against Mr Blatter primarily related to a payment of CHF 2,000,000 transferred in February 2011 from FIFA to Mr Platini. Mr Blatter, in his position as President of FIFA, authorised the payment to Mr Platini which had no legal basis in the written agreement signed between both officials on 25 August 1999.".