PtG Article 03.11.2011

Big sponsor worries that FIFA has hurt its long term brand

One of FIFA's biggest sponsors, Emirates Airlines, is concerned that the sponsorship deal with the world governing body of football has caused long term damage to its brand.

The company has now commissioned research into its association with FIFA, and a senior executive says that the airline is seriously considering not renewing the sponsorship when it runs out in 2014.

This warning shot to FIFA came from one of Emirates Airlines' senior executives, Boutros Boutros, in an interview with the Australian website B&T.

The Emirates Airlines has signed a sponsorship deal  with FIFA for 195 million US dollars in the period from 2007 to 2014, but the scandals that surrounded the bidding processes for the 2018 and and 2022 world cups have given the airline reason to question whether the sponsorship is a good idea after all.

Boutros explained that thanks to social media, the airline had received negative reports from its passengers asking why it was supporting FIFA.

"For us, in our history of sponsorship, it is the only event that when it happened our clients started writing to us saying 'why do you support this organisation?'" Boutros said.

Emirates Airlines also feels overlooked as a sponsor and feels it would have been appropriate for FIFA to acknowledge that sponsors need to be updated about events and reassured that such a crisis will not happen again.

"As a sponsor you expect they will come and write to you in the middle of the issue or at the end of it. But they act as if it's nothing for the sponsors," Boutros said to B&T.

Emirates Airlines will await the outcome of the research commissioned before it decides whether to renew the sponsorship deal with FIFA.

Read the B&T article here.