Several of FIFA's biggest sponsors have called for president Sepp Blatter to step down. The turn marks yet another blow to world soccer's governing organization; Blatter is being investigated on charges of corruption.
Led by Coca-Cola, a host of major football sponsors called for FIFA President Sepp Blatter to resign on Friday. McDonald's, Visa and Budweiser all released statements after the soft drink company in what appeared a structured campaign to see change at the top of soccer's governing body. Blatter though, stands firm.
Coca-Cola said it was asking for the FIFA head to step down "so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest. Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish. FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach," the company statement read.
According to Reuters, McDonald's - a FIFA sponsor since 1994 - sent the following statement through in an email: "The events of recent weeks have continued to diminish the reputation of FIFA and public confidence in its leadership."
"It would be appropriate for Mr. Blatter to step down as we believe his continued presence to be an obstacle in the reform process," the beer maker said in their statement.
Blatter, who is currently under criminal investigation by Swiss authorities for alleged financial wrongdoing at FIFA, will not step down though. His lawyer responded to Coca-Cola's announcement almost immediately with the following, according to a tweet: "While Coca Cola is a valued sponsor of FIFA, Mr. Blatter respectfully disagrees with its position and believes firmly that his leaving office now would not be in the best interest of FIFA nor would it advance the process of reform and therefore, he will not resign."
This decision will make for an even bumpier road in the months until February, when a new president will be elected.
blc/jr (AP, Reuters)