New York: Nike Inc, the sponsor of World Cup on Wednesday said that it was cooperating with authorities after bribery and corruption charges against senior FIFA officials were announced by U.S. prosecutors and arrests were made in Switzerland.
An indictment had been issued by U.S. prosecutors accusing nine officials from soccer’s world governing body and five sports media and promotions executives of bribes involving more than $150 million over 24 years.
It also said that a global sports company, which was not identified in court documents, agreed to pay $160 million over 10 years to become the Brazil team’s exclusive footwear, apparel, accessories, and equipment supplier in 1996.
That was an apparent reference to Nike Inc, which sponsored the Brazil national team.
The indictment said the company had agreed to financial terms not in the initial contract, which included paying an additional $40 million to an affiliate of the team’s marketing agent with a Swiss bank account and referring to the amount as “marketing fees.”
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was asked at a news conference if there was any liability for companies that had won marketing rights and if they were being investigated.
Lynch said she could not comment on specifics of who else was a target or subject of the investigation “except to say that the investigation is continuing and covers all aspects.”
In a statement, Nike said, “Like fans everywhere we care passionately about the game and are concerned by the very serious allegations.”
The company said, “Nike believes in ethical and fair play in both business and sport and strongly opposes any form of manipulation or bribery. We have been cooperating, and will continue to cooperate, with the authorities.”