Emirates said to ease concerns over FIFA tie-up

Top exec says satisfied with FIFA's efforts to clean up reputation after bribery claims
FIFA president Sepp Blatter. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 05 Jan 2013 09:43 AM

Emirates Airlines, one of FIFA's biggest sponsors, is reportedly happy to continue its association with football's world governing body after speaking out last year about bribery allegations.

The Dubai carrier's eight-year $195m sponsorship of FIFA expires in 2014 and the Dubai-based carrier had previously suggested it may not seek a renewal as FIFA battled against bribery and vote rigging claims.

But Emirates senior vice-president Boutros Boutros said in comments published by website insidethegames that the airline was satisfied FIFA was doing its best to clean up with an ongoing two-year reform drive.

"What I said before about renewal is that we needed to wait until we had studied whether our brand was damaged because it's a big investment," Boutros told insidethegames.

"You cannot invest unless you do a proper evaluation. We have now done a market research test and so far it would seem there is no negative effect on our brand or people's perception of it, whatever FIFA has gone through."

In November 2011, Australian media group B&T media quoted Boutros as saying the airline felt "overlooked" during the voting scandal that rocked football's governing body earlier in the year.

"We are seriously thinking about not renewing our partnership with FIFA beyond 2014," Boutros was quoted as saying.

In May 2011, Boutros told Reuters the airline was disappointed by the cash-for-votes scandal that has led to several officials being suspended from the game.

Boutros told insidethegames that he was satisfied that FIFA was becoming more accountable in what is Blatter's final term of office.

"When we spoke [before] about transparency, they were not as clear as they are now," he was quoted as saying.

"We have to give them a chance to finish what they are doing."

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