Adidas CEO says FIFA scandal not damaging its brand

Thu Nov 5, 2015 6:45am EST
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By Emma Thomasson

BERLIN (Reuters) - The corruption scandal engulfing soccer's world governing body FIFA is not tarnishing the image of its long-standing sponsor Adidas, the chief executive of the German sportswear company said on Thursday.

Adidas said its sales of soccer products rose 19 percent in the third quarter, helped by the launch of new "ACE" and "X" soccer boots and kits for new partners Manchester United and Italian champions Juventus.

"The image for our products have never been better so I am definitely convinced that the consumers clearly differentiates between us as a company and the brand and what's going on in FIFA," Herbert Hainer told a conference call for journalists.

Adidas has provided the World Cup match ball since 1970 and extended its partnership with FIFA until 2030 two years ago.

The company faced criticism last month after declining to join other major sponsors and demand the immediate departure of FIFA President Sepp Blatter after Swiss authorities opened a criminal investigation into him.

Blatter has denied any wrongdoing. FIFA's ethics committee last month suspended him for 90 days along with UEFA president Michel Platini, previously considered the favorite to take over from Blatter.

Hainer said Adidas had called for FIFA reform even before last year's World Cup in Brazil and said he had confidence in the ethics committee to make FIFA more transparent, adding that Adidas was in "constant dialogue" with FIFA and the committee.

Hainer said Adidas was not part of a scandal involving a payment to FIFA by the German Football Association (DFB), but added he expected the DFB, which Adidas sponsors, to do all it could to clear up the matter.   Continued...

Herbert Hainer, chief executive officer of Adidas, the world's second largest sports apparel firm, arrives for the company annual general meeting in the northern Bavarian town of Fuerth near Nuremberg May 8, 2014. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle