Zurich, June 1, 2011. FIFA, which came under fire for controversies related to the World Cup host selection process that resulted in wins for Russia and Qatar, continues to suffer from a negative image as a result. Accusations of corruption and other irregularities in the voting process and questions as to the suitability of the locations chosen for the 2018 and 2022 events have dogged the world soccer governing body since the completion of the selection process in late 2010.
“It is clear FIFA has not recovered from adverse reactions to the Russia and Qatar decisions,” said Dr. Christian Kolmer, of Media Tenor International. “This negativity serves to underscore that the suspicion of corruption continues to taint world soccer´s governing body. For Russia and Qatar and, particularly, commercial partners, FIFA has become a significant image threat. An association with the organization cannot be seen as a positive at this time in light of these findings.”
Those increasingly at risk from FIFA´s negative image include high-profile partners like Adidas and McDonald´s, as well as other host countries that have thus far been outside the controversy, such as Brazil. FIFA is such a well-known brand that partners may struggle to disassociate themselves with the organization´s negative image regardless of the relevance of the scandals to their own participation in FIFA and World Cup events.
“For FIFA to improve its image, it will need a steady stream of coverage about issues other than the Qatar and Russia selections, which are now firmly fixed as negatives for television audiences. Changing the perception around these topics will take ongoing communication that actively addresses the concerns,” said Kolmer. “With sustained negativity like this, a quick, easy fix won´t be possible,” he added.
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