ZURICH: Two of FIFA’s major World Cup sponsors have stepped directly into the crisis enveloping the world football federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

After several months of equivocal comments, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s both stepped off the diplomatic fence to demand clean-up action in the wake of the long but ongoing corruption scandal.

Coca-Cola’s decision to urge the appointment of a truly independent reform commission is by far the most significant intervention because the soft-drinks giant is the most historically important of all the sponsors.

A spokeswoman said: “We have written to FIFA and asked them to support an independent third-party commission for reforms.”

Earlier correspondence with FIFA led to Coca-Cola reportedly saying: “We believe that establishing this independent commission will be the most credible way for FIFA to approach its reform process and is necessary to build back the trust it has lost.”

On McDonald’s behalf, a spokeswoman said it had warned FIFA that “recent allegations and indictments have severely tarnished FIFA in a way that strikes at the very heart of our sponsorship.

“As a result, we have expressed our concerns directly to FIFA. We believe FIFA internal controls and compliance culture are inconsistent with expectations McDonald’s has for its business partners throughout the world.

“We are not satisfied with FIFA’s current handling of the recent incidents that go clearly against McDonald’s culture and values.

“FIFA must now implement meaningful changes to restore trust and credibility with fans and sponsors alike. The world expects concrete actions and so does McDonald’s.”

FIFA’s executive committee meets in Zurich on Monday to set a date for the election to choose a successor to veteran Swiss administrator Sepp Blatter who announced his departure only four days after being re-elected in May.

The new election and the sponsors’ demands come against a backdrop of senior football officials facing corruption charges in the United States involving the misuse of $150m.