After sealing a major sponsorship deal with a Chinese car manufacturer, FIFA’s marketing director Thierry Weil concedes the recent scandals that have engulfed the world game’s governing body have made the brand a difficult one to sell.
FIFA announced on Wednesday it has agreed an eight-year contract with Alibaba E-Auto – its first sponsorship deal since September 2013, when the body linked up with gas company Gazprom for the 2018 World Cup.
Allegations of widespread corruption have tarnished FIFA’s image over the past few months.
Several former and current officials have been placed under arrest, while outgoing president Sepp Blatter was provisionally suspended for an alleged “disloyal payment” made to UEFA counterpart Michel Platini, who is also under suspension.
“It is not easy to sell,” Weil said at a news conference.
“You can imagine in the given period and given circumstance with what’s going on at FIFA.
“We are in discussions with different companies but we are also realistic to say this will not change before the reforms will be approved from the Congress, and before a new president is elected on February 26.
“China is not a market which FIFA is strong in yet, to be honest. FIFA is especially looking into the market to help develop football in the market … China cannot be neglected because it’s a huge market.”