Emirates wants FIFA changes before new sponsorship

Emirates wants evidence FIFA is seriously delivering on moves to

eradicate corruption and that the scandal-hit organization’s public

image is improving before renewing its sponsorship, an airline

executive said on Friday.

The Dubai-based carrier’s $195 million, eight-year sponsorship

of world football’s governing body expires in 2014.

Emirates senior vice president Boutros Boutros said 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. I am

like you,” Emirates senior vice president 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 seen 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,”

Boutros said at Arsenal’s ground in London after Emirates signed a

$240 million sponsorship extension with the Premier League

club.

FIFA’s reputation was rocked by claims of bribery and

vote-rigging that marred the presidential election campaign last

year, and the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests which were

voted on 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.”

Mark Pieth, one of Blatter’s anti-corruption advisers, said this

year that ”older” elected officials were resisting the reform

proposals and moves to dilute their power at FIFA.

A panel headed by Pieth has begun preparing a second round of

reform proposals that FIFA members will vote on next May.

Rob Harris can be reached at http://twitter.com/RobHarris