UPDATE 3-Soccer-Coke, McDonald's join sponsor call for FIFA's Blatter to resign
* Blatter says through U.S. lawyer he will not go
* Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Visa, Budweiser demand departure
* FIFA image tarnished by Swiss criminal probe of Blatter (Update with comments)
By Mica Rosenberg and Simon Evans
NEW YORK/ZURICH, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Major soccer sponsors on Friday issued coordinated calls for the immediate resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter in the most significant move by companies supporting the sport since a bribery and corruption scandal erupted at world football's governing body last May.
Coca-Cola Co, McDonald's, Visa, and Budweiser owner Anheuser-Busch InBev, companies that have long linked their brand names to soccer, on Friday demanded Blatter step down immediately in a strong push for change at the organization. Blatter earlier announced he would resign in February next year.
The sponsor statements, all using similar language, came just a week after Swiss authorities said they were opening a criminal investigation into Blatter, the 79-year-old Swiss national who has lead FIFA for the past 17 years.
AB InBev said it has been "actively engaged" in the FIFA reform process as part of a group of sponsors.
"Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish," Coca Cola said. "FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach." Continuación...