Dubai's Emirates has not
yet begun discussions on extending its multi-million dollar FIFA
sponsorship beyond 2014, it said on Wednesday, after a report
quoted an airline official saying the Gulf Arab carrier would
not renew the contract.
Australian media group B&T media quoted Boutros Boutros,
the divisional senior vice president of corporate communications
for the airline, saying it felt "overlooked" during the voting
scandal that rocked football's governing body earlier this year.
"We are seriously thinking about not renewing our
partnership with FIFA beyond 2014," Boutros was quoted as saying
during the Emirates-sponsored Melbourne Cup horse race.
In May, Boutros told Reuters the airline was disappointed by
the cash-for-votes scandal that has led to several officials
being suspended from the game.
Former Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam was banned for
life after being accused of bribery during his failed attempt to
become FIFA president. He has always denied the allegations.
Emirates has commissioned research into its association with
FIFA to see if there has been any long-term damage to its brand,
according to the report.
"Emirates has not yet commenced discussions with FIFA on the
extension of our partnership agreement beyond 2014. Discussions
will begin in due course," the airline said in a statement on
Wednesday, without giving any more details.
The Gulf carrier sealed one of its biggest ever sponsorship
deals worth $195 million with FIFA in 2006 to become its
official sponsor until 2014.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said in June the organisation
has been in contact with two of its main sponsors over the
corruption allegations but there had been no threats to pull
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