Wednesday, December 13, 2006

FIFA sacks officials after sponsorship debacle

FIFA has sacked marketing director Jerome Valcke and three others following a US court ruling over the Mastercard v Visa sponsor debacle. Valcke, FIFA’s director of marketing and TV and colleagues Tom Houseman, Robert Lampman and Stefan Schuster were all shown the door by football’s governing body.

A US judge ruled long-time FIFA partner Mastercard should be reinstated as sponsor of the FIFA World Cup for both 2010 and 2014. The court declared a sponsorship contract concluded between FIFA and Visa was invalid and ordered FIFA to implement the contract that had been negotiated but not concluded with Mastercard on the grounds that FIFA had breached its obligation to give Mastercard first refusal.

“In this context, the FIFA employees who had conducted negotiations with Visa and Mastercard were accused of repeated dishonesty during negotiations and of giving false information to the FIFA deciding bodies in question. Even though the judgment has proved to be very biased in favour of Mastercard, the fact cannot be overlooked that FIFA's negotiations breached its business principles. FIFA cannot possibly accept such conduct among its own employees. FIFA is currently considering lodging an appeal against the court's judgment, while taking account of the interests of every party involved and seeking suitable solutions,” FIFA said in a statement.

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