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FIFA Shedding Sponsors In Wake Of World Cup Bidding Scandal

TOKYO (CelebrityAccess) — Sony Corp. has joined Emirates Airline as the second 'top tier' sponsor to drop their sponsorship deal with soccer governing body FIFA over concerns about the bidding process for World Cup host nations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sony's contract as one of the "official partners" of FIFA is set to expire this year and according to a well-placed source, the company does not plan to renew.

In June, Sony called on FIFA to conduct a thorough investigation of allegations of corruption in how the organization awarded host cities for World Cup soccer events, asking FIFA to "adhere to its principles of integrity, ethics and fair play across all aspects of its operations."

Earlier this month, FIFA's internal organization recommended that Swiss authorities conduct a criminal investigation on "international asset transfers" that may have had a bearing in the determination of host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar respectively. Despite the calls for criminal investigation, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and FIFA's ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert both said that the investigation would not impact the decision to award the World Cup to the previously announced host cities.

The news about Sony comes one day after Emirates Airline announced they were ending their sponsorship over corruption concerns.

"Emirates can confirm that a decision has been made not to renew the sponsorship agreement with FIFA past 2014," the Dubai-based airline said in a statement on Monday. "This decision was made following an evaluation of FIFA's contract proposal which did not meet Emirates' expectations."

Emirates Airline and Sony are two of six official partners of FIFA, who, collectively, paid about $180 million to FIFA last year, Reuters reported. Other sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Adidas, Hyundai, Visa, and Budweiser, have criticized FIFA's handling of the probe but have yet to indicate any further action. – Staff Writers