Blatter Reassures Sponsors Amid Corruption Crisis
Sepp Blatter says he has been in contact with several top-tier FIFA partners to ease their fears about the corruption scandals that have engulfed world football’s governing body.

The 75-year-old, who was re-elected president for another four-year term on Wednesday, told delegates at the FIFA Congress that he had spoken with at least two major partners.

“Their thought was ‘we trust you but please bring back FIFA in better waters'”, Blatter said.

“But no-one has said they will withdraw… only they are a little bit concerned.”

He added: “I am sure after the decisions made at the congress and the direct dialogue we have with outr sponsors they will, I am sure, be happy to go on with us to the World Cup [Brazil 2014] and other competitions around the world.”

Blatter spoke of adopting a “zero tolerance” attitude in his efforts to wipe out corruption within FIFA, while the 208 member federations approved his plan to create a new corporate governance and compliance body. He has promised “radical” reforms will be made in his final term.

Coca-Cola, Visa, Emirates and Adidas are among sponsors who have voiced concerns in recent days over a spate of bribery allegations that have left FIFA’s reputation in tatters.
Sony was the latest to express concern. It means all but one of FIFA’s top six sponsors have reacted to FIFA’s image problems.

“As an official FIFA partner, we are continuing to focus on our support of the 2014 World Cup and the ongoing development of the sport around the world,” Sony said in a statement to AdNews. 
“We do not wish to comment on the publicly debated allegations against FIFA at this point in time, however, we expect FIFA to quickly take the necessary measures to provide clarity and resolution to this matter.”
Continental, a second-tier FIFA sponsor, also piled the pressure on the Swiss to take action to revamp FIFA’s reputation.
The German car brand told AdNews it will “continue to support professional soccer in the future, but how we do this is yet to be decided. Therefore, we cannot approve of anything that negatively affects the reputation of professional soccer, the World Cup 2014 or the characteristics of this sport”.
Hyundai/Kia Motors is the only FIFA Partner yet to respond to the ongoing turmoil at world football’s governing body. Like Continental, fellow FIFA World Cup sponsor McDonald’s has also called for reform in the sport’s governance.

UEFA Shares Hospitality Duties for Euro 2012
Match Hospitality AG will handle corporate hospitality for Euro 2012 in non-UEFA member countries.

“For the first time in the case of the EURO final tournaments, UEFA Events SA will handle the sales of the corporate hospitality program in the two host countries as well as in several European territories via its dedicated own sales force,” Euro 2012 commercial director Philippe Margraff said.
“With its global network and market expertise, Match Hospitality will ideally complement this approach in the non-UEFA member countries markets.”
Match will sell two types of

packages for the finals in Poland and the Ukraine. A gold option includes use of a shared business lounge while a platinum package provides access to a private skybox. Both feature premium seating, catering and other amenities.

“With this appointment, we can further expand our already large portfolio of hospitality packages for major sports events and place ourselves even more prominently as a key player in the global corporate hospitality market,” said Match Hospitality chairman Jaime Byrom.
Roughly four percent of the 1.4 million total tickets to next year’s tournament are set aside for corporate hospitality.
French Football Bound for Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera Sports is investing in French professional football.
The French Football League (LFP) announced this week that the Qatari broadcaster will take over international distribution rights from the Canal+ Group.
“It’s an honour for the [French Football League] to announce this deal with Al Jazeera Sports Network for the international distribution rights,” LFP president Frederic Thiriez said.
“This new deal will help Ligue 1 to continue its growth and reinforce its presence on the world football stage”. 
The six-year agreement, worth a reported $277 million, runs through the 2017/18 season and includes all matches in Ligue 1, Ligue 2, the Coupe de la Ligue and the Trophée des Champions.
Bidding for domestic rights is expected to begin later this month.

By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson

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