Emirates airline will not renew its contract as one of the main sponsors of Fifa when its contract ends at the end of the year.
Confirming the decision, a spokesperson of the Dubai-based airline said: “Emirates can confirm that a decision has been made not to renew the sponsorship agreement with Fifa past 2014. This decision was made following an evaluation of Fifa’s contract proposal, which did not meet Emirates’ expectations.”
While no further explanation was available for a pullout from such a high-profile association that dates back to 2006, speculation is rife that Emirates may have decided to sever the ties over the recent controversy where Fifa is conducting an internal probe over corruption allegations. Indications are that Sony, the Japanese electronic giant and another Fifa sponsor, may also pull out.
An international news agency quoted Fifa as saying that Emirates had informed them as early as 2012 that it is “restructuring its sponsoring concept” and that “Fifa respects this.”
Emirates and Sony are two of Fifa’s six so-called Official Partners, the top tier of sponsorship, the others of which are Adidas, Coca Cola, Visa and Hyundai/Kia.
German news magazine Der Spiegel had earlier reported that Qatar Airways, the national carrier of 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar, and South Korea’s Samsung are likely candidates to take the place of Emirates and Sony.
Emirates has major sponsorship deals with top European clubs including Arsenal, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, while they have a huge portfolio of sports sponsorships as part of their marketing strategy.