By Denna Bowman
As one of the leading sponsors in the world of football, Continental has hinted it is concerned about the controversy surrounding Fifa.
The tyres and automotive manufacturer – a World Cup 2014 sponsor – has issued a carefully worded statement in response to the bribery and corruption allegations engulfing world football’s governing body.
In a statement released to Tyres and Accessories, Continental – which is estimated to spend between $10 to $25 million sponsoring the World Cup – confirmed: “We have been supporting professional soccer for more than 15 years with passion and engagement – regional (ie:. the Bundesliga team of Hanover 96), national (ie:. the German Cup) and international (ie: Major League Soccer in the US).
“The characteristics of this No 1 world-wide sport – precision, technique, passion and teamplay – are well matched to our premium brand Continental.
“We are also an Official Sponsor of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and are looking forward to this next major event which takes place in the most soccer passionate country in the world.
“And we will continue to support professional soccer in the future, but how we do this is yet to be decided.”
It concluded: “Therefore, we cannot approve of anything that negatively affects the reputation of professional soccer, the World Cup 2014 or the characteristics of this sport.”
Tyres and Accessories commented: “Following on from statements and quotes from almost all of the leading Fifa partners, Continental’s words are significant not only because they join the growing disquiet, but also because they appear to be the first of the World Cup 2014 sponsors to mention their concerns.”
Earlier this week Coca-Cola (which is a $500 million (£304 million) Fifa partner) described the allegations as “distressing and damaging”. Adidas which also has a three-digit million deal with the organisation, added: “The negative tenor of the public debate around Fifa at the moment is neither good for football nor for Fifa and its partners.” Emirates Group said it was “disappointed”, followed by Visa, another Fifa partner: “We ask that Fifa take all necessary steps to resolve the concerns that have been raised.”