NEW YORK — World Cup sponsors Coca-Cola and McDonald’s said Friday that FIFA head Sepp Blatter should step aside immediately to restore confidence in the scandal-plagued body. Visa, also a sponsor, joined the call Friday afternoon.
Blatter, through his lawyer, said he wouldn’t leave.
In separate statements issued one week after criminal proceedings were launched against Blatter in Switzerland, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s said the 79-year-old’s position was now untenable.
“For the benefit of the game, The Coca-Cola Company is calling for FIFA President Joseph Blatter to step down immediately so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest,” soft-drinks giant Coca-Cola said.
“Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish. FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach.”
Fast-food giant McDonald’s echoed Coca-Cola’s stance.
“The events of recent weeks have continued to diminish the reputation of FIFA and public confidence in its leadership,” McDonald’s said.
“We believe it would be in the best interest of the game for FIFA President Sepp Blatter to step down immediately so that the reform process can proceed with the credibility that is needed.”
Blatter’s lawyer said Friday that his client will not resign.
“While Coca-Cola is a valued sponsor of FIFA, Mr Blatter respectfully disagrees with its position and believes firmly that his leaving office now would not be in the best interest of FIFA nor would it advance the process of reform and therefore, he will not resign,” Blatter‘s New York attorney Richard Cullen said in a statement.
The European parliament called on Blatter to quit in June.