News 4 November 2015

Sexwale: sponsors “went too far” in asking Blatter to resign

FIFA’s sponsors went too far in asking for the resignation of FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, Tokyo Sexwale told delegates at Securing Sport 2015, the International Centre for Sport Security’s (ICSS) conference in New York. “Sponsors are now in a position to determine the next FIFA President”, he argued. “They shouldn’t be in that position. They will now determine who runs FIFA.” The FIFA Presidential candidate also highlighted the anti-racism initiatives put in place by his organisation, Global Watch, stressing that his presentation was not intended to be about his candidature for the FIFA Presidency. “I am glad that you realised that I was not here to speak about my campaign”, he said. “It was not going to be a sing-song about me. I thought that this would be abuse of a platform – this is not an election platform.”

Sexwale warned against FIFA sponsors such as Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Visa conducting “sponsor activism”. He argued that the companies should have taken a position similar to that of Adidas, which responded to May’s 161-page Department of Justice (DoJ) indictment, but did not respond to requests from NewFIFANow, who put pressure on FIFA’s sponsors to call for Blatter’s resignation.

Sexwale did say that his first action as FIFA President would be to “undo the crippling damage done to FIFA by the crippling allegations of corruption” made against the organisation. He will put forward his manifesto in the next couple of weeks, which will address the “damage done to the FIFA brand” and how it can be fixed. He said that this would require the “collective wisdom of a properly elected FIFA executive that understands the challenges of football in the 21st century”. Sexwale refused to be drawn on whether he had support from any of the the six football confederations, arguing that they have yet to make a decision on which candidate they will back. “It would be improper for me to say whether I will have their support”, he said.

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