A lesson in crisis management: FIFA’s laundering scandal

If there was ever a crisis which would send shivers down the spines of PR agencies world wide, it would be FIFA’s current predicament.


Sponsors of the embattled sporting organisation FIFA include several big names including Visa, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Budweiser – who only months ago were in the envious position of having their brand advertised pitch-side to millions of homes around the world.

In the wake of the recent scandal, these companies now find their names in jeopardy, being linked to allegations of “rampant, systemic, and deep rooted corruption”; so, how should these brands move forward?

Visa was reported to be piling on the pressure for Sepp Blatter to resign, but even now he’s stepped down the saga continues with Russia and Qatar’s position as World Cup hosts in question. The ripples are still travelling throughout the sporting and advertising worlds. The question is, is it time for FIFA sponsors to pull their support completely?

Not necessarily. Running away from the problem could be viewed sceptically by some, who may see this as a defensive move rather than tackling the problem head on.

What football fans and critics of FIFA really want to see is more transparency and reform – reform which brands can help to achieve if Blatter’s resignation is anything to go by.

And sponsors need to follow this lead. FIFA-gate raises questions not only about FIFA, but everyone affiliated with the brand and it’s a problem that sponsors cannot ignore or run away from.

By Cartwright Communications

Cartwright Communications is a team of PR and digital experts. Our roots are in journalism and our focus is on devising content-led integrated communications strategies for our clients. We work with consumer and business-focussed clients in Nottingham, the Midlands, across the UK and internationally across a variety of market sectors.