Sponsors, Swiss government should lean on FIFA, says Pieth

Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:48am EDT
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(Reuters) - FIFA reformer Mark Pieth has said that sponsors should take a bigger interest in the way soccer's world governing body is run.

The Swiss government could also do more to prod Zurich-based FIFA to change its ways, Pieth added during a presentation to the "Play the Game" conference in Aarhus, Denmark, on Wednesday.

"It's bit of a sad story that the sponsors haven't come out more forcibly and I think we should encourage them to do so," Pieth said.

"My suggestion to the sponsors would be to take this governance reform very seriously."

However, Pieth said that recent events in Brazil, which is hosting the 2014 World Cup, may have forced sponsors to think differently.

The Confederations Cup, a dry run for next year's tournament, took place amid a wave of nationwide protests in Brazil where the cost of hosting the World Cup was among the causes of public anger.

"I think for the first time in Brazil, they have realized the buying (sponsoring) of such an event can also turn to a disadvantage....if you're name is associated on television with unrest all the time," said Pieth.

He said Switzerland could do more simply by ending tax-exempt status.

"The host state could require a certain minimum in governance (standards)," he said.   Continued...

Law and ethics professor Mark Pieth makes a speech during the "Sports, Business and Ethics - a Situation Analysis" congress held by FIFA's subsidiary Early Warning System (EWS) in Zurich April 5, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann