NEW YORK, N.Y. – Nike says it is co-operating with authorities in the U.S. probe into corruption of FIFA, the governing body of soccer worldwide.
On Wednesday U.S. officials charged seven FIFA members with racketeering and corruption charges and announced a sweeping investigation into corruption. Swiss officials also invaded FIFA headquarters, seizing records and computers to investigate whether the decisions to award World Cups to Russia and Qatar were rigged.
Nike is not an official FIFA sponsor. But it pays to have the Brazilian and other countries’ national teams wear its shirts and other gear. This is the first time it has acknowledged that it has been contacted in the investigation.
Nike did not address anything specific in the investigation. It said it is “strongly opposed to any form of manipulation or bribery.”
Some official sponsors including McDonald’s also said Wednesday they are in contact with authorities.
No specific companies are mentioned in the Justice Department allegations. But they allege that an unnamed multinational sportswear company headquartered in the U.S. bribed marketing executives in order to win a 10-year sponsorship deal with the Brazilian National Team in 1996, the same year Nike signed a $400 million sponsorship agreement with the Brazil national team.