McDonald's has discussed withdrawing its sponsorship of FIFA due to “ethical concerns” as the 2018 World Cup in Russia draws closer. Over the past five years, FIFA has been dogged by allegations of widespread corruption and, you know, actual widespread corruption.
McDonald’s has been one of the World Cup’s main sponsors since 1994, but the company has become critical of FIFA’s hierarchy and its approach. McDonald’s pushed for then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s ouster in 2015, and demanded the new leadership change the way it did things. Now, with Russia’s World Cup mired in scandal related to its bidding process, the topic has come up again.
If McDonald’s backs away from sponsoring the World Cup, a number of other sponsors could follow. And in truth, preventing that from happening is really the only incentive FIFA has to reform. Until it sees its bottom line suffer, the organization has zero reason to really fix things.
McDonald’s told the Daily Mail that it would, “continue to hold FIFA accountable for meaningful reform.”
The statement continued:
“There is no change to our sponsorship plans for the FIFA World Cup in Russia in 2018.
Like other sponsors a couple of years ago, we strongly advocated for FIFA reform including calling for the resignation of former President Sepp Blatter. As a sponsor, we will continue to hold FIFA accountable.
Here’s the thing, McDonald’s can say whatever it wants about corruption and the need for change, but until it actually forces the organization to make sweeping changes, those will just be empty words. Hopefully it actually happens and other sponsors follow through. That’s the only thing that will lead to real, meaningful changes.