Football

FIFA struggling to attract sponsors following corruption scandal

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FIFA's crisis has caused a sponsorship 'black hole' which is so acute that 27 out of 34 slots for potential partners remained unfilled.

The corruption scandal has proved so toxic that no new sponsors have joined since well before the 2014 World Cup, while several have severed all ties with the world governing body including top partners Sony and Emirates.

Out of 14 tier one and tier two partner slots, only seven are currently filled. Efforts to find 20 regional sponsors - four from each continent - have failed completely.

The loss of income has had a drastic effect on FIFA's finances - it has forecast making a deficit of ?67million for 2015, the first time it will have made a loss since 2001.

FIFA marketing director Thierry Weil said: "FIFA is in contact with various companies and potential sponsors, but we are also realistic, and understand that until reforms are passed at the extraordinary congress, and a new president is elected, that it will be challenging to sign new partnerships.

"Given the ongoing discussions, I am confident that once the reforms are approved by the congress, we will indeed be able to realise our sponsorship concept."

Meanwhile, the European Club Association has hit out at proposed reforms which include expanding the World Cup from 32 teams to 40.

FIFA's executive committee has deferred a decision for reports by the organisation's administration, but there is strong support for the change, especially from Asia and Africa, and it could be implemented for the 2026 tournament.

An ECA statement said: "The recommendation to enhance the number of participating teams in the FIFA World Cup from 32 to 40 without prior consultation with the clubs (in full knowledge of the impact this will have on the professional club game), is proof that the proposed reforms are not at the required standard allowing for a new and modern FIFA.

"ECA will now take the required time to assess how it wishes to position itself in relation to this latest development leaving all options open. Clubs are not prepared to be further ignored."

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