ZURICH: Back in FIFA’s ‘annus horribilis’ of 2011 sportswear giant Adidas expressed its “distress” over the vote-rigging scandals attendant on the 2018 and 2022 awards; it also expressed its confidence in president Sepp Blatter’s determination to achieve reform writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The company’s seal of approval for FIFA’s change of direction and the maintenance of credibility of the World Cup has been signalled with its record-stretching sponsorship extension until 2030.
Ethics, however, played less of a role in Adidas’ decision than the commercial priority of keeping rival Nike shut out of the top-of-the-range World Cup commercial sphere.
Adidas has been closely involved with FIFA ever since the 1950s. Company heir Horst Dassler played a key role in the election as president of Joao Havelange in 1974 and leading the subsequent sport/business revolution.
Adidas also moved from partner to sponsor, a role which has seen it supply the matchball for every succeeding World Cup.
Formally, Adidas has agreed an extension of its contract for Official Partner, Supplier and Licensee rights for the FIFA World Cup and all FIFA events until 2030.
In addition, a wide range of adidas/FIFA World Cup licensed products will be on sale worldwide. Similar rights apply to other FIFA tournaments such as the Women’s World Cup and the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Adidas will continue to support FIFA in its Football for Hope programme by organising workshops and coaching seminars specifically targeted to the needs of community-based organisations.
Both programmes are “key initiatives” within FIFA’s social responsibility strategy, which aims to promote the use of football as a tool for social development.
FIFA marketing director Thierry Weil said: “Without the support of long-term partners such as Adidas, it would simply not be possible for FIFA to host global spectacles such as the FIFA World Cup and to continue our work to develop football worldwide.
“Adidas is an integral part of the FIFA World Cup story, quite literally featuring at the heart of the action at every tournament since the 1970 FIFA World Cup.
“We are delighted that this long-term strategic partnership will continue until at least 2030 and we are looking forward to writing new chapters of football history together.”
Last month Hainer said that football-related sales were expected to rise to a record 2bn next year. It’s ‘properties’ includes national kit of Germany, world champions Spain and Argentina as well as boots for Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale.
Herbert Hainer, Adidas ceo, is a member of FIFA’s strategic committee as well as a main board member of European club champions Bayern Munich with which the company has enjoyed a similarly length relationship.
Hainer said: “Over the last 40 years, Adidas and FIFA have worked closely together to develop football worldwide. Therefore, it was a natural step for us to extend one of the most successful partnerships in the history of sports marketing.
“We happy and proud that our close relationship with FIFA will continue. This unique partnership and our extensive presence at all FIFA World Cups will help us to expand Adidas’ position as the leading football brand worldwide.”
The World Cup generates more than 90pc of FIFA’s income, which last year topped $1.1 billion, including $350m from World Cup-related sponsorships.