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Emirates airlines demand FIFA reforms

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Emirates airlines wants evidence FIFA is eradicating corruption and the scandal-hit organization's public image is improving before renewing its sponsorship.

The Dubai-based carrier's $195 million, eight-year sponsorship of world soccer's governing body expires in 2014.

Emirates senior vice president Boutros Boutros said Friday the airline has yet to see enough progress since FIFA President Sepp Blatter instigated a reform drive to prevent a repeat of scandals that have damaged the credibility of the organization in recent years.

"So far they talk a lot about them, but we are yet to see," Boutros Boutros said. "They look serious about it and we are optimistic. We hope they will work on it and do what the public want. We are waiting until after 2014 to evaluate."

Asked if Emirates will ensure FIFA is no longer perceived to be a tainted organization before agreeing on a new deal, Boutros responded: "Definitely."

"Our research is to see how people perceive our brand - how they perceive our relationship with them, how they look at it."

FIFA's reputation was rocked by claims of bribery and vote-rigging in the presidential election campaign last year and the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests in December 2010.

"Blatter is working on cleaning the image of FIFA - they had unfortunate events and incidents and issues," Boutros said. "In one way, I am glad they were courageous enough to talk about it and discuss it. And they were courageous enough to announce they were taking measures.

"I am yet to see the outcome of these measures and we are waiting and watching."

Boutros was speaking at Arsenal's ground in London after Emirates signed a $240 million sponsorship extension with the Premier League club.

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Arsenal has extended its stadium naming rights deal and shirt sponsorship with the airline, meaning that the club's ground - which has been known as the Emirates Stadium since the team moved into the new north London base in 2006, will continue to carry the name until 2028.

But Arsenal says the new deal will guarantee Emirates' name on its shirts only to 2019.

The Dubai-based carrier is also hoping to extend its shirt sponsorship with Paris Saint-Germain, which started in 2006, despite reports in September that the club's Qatari owners could sign a deal with a company from their homeland.

"We still have this year so we are now in final negotiations. We are almost finalizing the deal, so I don't see any reason (not to)," said Emirates senior vice president Boutros.

"We have no indication from Paris Saint-Germain they are talking to anyone else,'" he added.

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