Soccer sponsors dismayed by corruption allegations at FIFA
By Anjali Athavaley
NEW YORK May 27 (Reuters) - World Cup sponsor Nike Inc said on Wednesday it was cooperating with authorities after bribery and corruption charges against senior FIFA officials were announced by U.S. prosecutors and arrests were made in Switzerland.
U.S. prosecutors issued an indictment accusing nine officials from soccer's world governing body and five sports media and promotions executives of bribes involving more than $150 million over 24 years.
The indictment also said that in 1996, a global sports company, which was not identified in court documents, agreed to pay $160 million over 10 years to become the Brazil team's exclusive footwear, apparel, accessories, and equipment supplier. That was an apparent reference to Nike Inc, which sponsored the Brazil national team.
The indictment said the company had agreed to financial terms not in the initial contract, which included paying an additional $40 million to an affiliate of the team's marketing agent with a Swiss bank account and referring to the amount as "marketing fees."
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was asked at a news conference if there was any liability for companies that had won marketing rights and if they were being investigated.
Lynch said she could not comment on specifics of who else was a target or subject of the investigation "except to say that the investigation is continuing and covers all aspects."
She declined to comment when asked if one of the companies was Nike.
Later on, Nike said in a statement, "Like fans everywhere we care passionately about the game and are concerned by the very serious allegations." Continuación...