How FIFA can level the score against 'Official Non-Sponsors'
As football stands at the precipice of commercial funding, is a public education programme an antidote to "toxic" claims?
Described by Conservative MP Damian Collins as a “toxic brand”, it would be fair to say that football’s world governing body needs much more than shin guards to protect its own reputation.
Ben Rumsby’s article in the Daily Telegraph questions FIFA’s ability to attract and retain commercial sponsors. Sports clothing manufacturer SKINS punches home the problem by irreverently launching its status as the first "Official Non-Sponsor" of FIFA, supporting the campaign #NewFIFANow.
Celebrating ‘unofficial’ provokes a more fundamental debate: do fans really know – or even care – about how the money invested by official partners benefit sport and society as a whole? So whilst FIFA is busy unscrambling its own governance issues, some would argue its time would be well spent embarking upon a public education programme explaining why sponsorship revenue is critical to the very existence of organized football and broader entertainment at all levels, not to mention the positive social and economic benefit they bring.
So with no ‘skin’ in the game, FIFA should greet football’s first “Official Non-Sponsor” with one simple message: no official sponsors, no World Cup.