ZURICH: McDonald’s has become the latest sponsor to urge FIFA to appoint an independent reform commission as world football’s governing body plots its recovery from a period of damaging scandal.

McDonald’s vice-president of global media relations and issues management, Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem, sent an email to the New Fifa Now campaign group, adding the company’s voice to those of fellow sponsors Coca-Cola and Visa over the suggested course of action following a succession of arrests involving high ranking FIFA officials in relation to US and Swiss investigations into football corruption and money laundering.

McDonald’s criticised FIFA in the wake of the June arrests of nine officials and five marketing executives but has now specified its stance amid growing support for an independent commission. McDonald’s has backed the governing body since 1994.

Domenco Scala, the Swiss businessman who is independent chairman of the FIFA audit committee, had been an early favourite to lead the reform before having second thoughts.

Sa Shekhem wrote: “In regards to an independent reform commission, we do believe this is an important step in the greater reform that has to happen within FIFA.

“An independent commission would bring an appropriate level of credibility, transparency, and neutrality to the role, and ultimately provide sponsors and fans across the globe with the confidence that the reform effort is both meaningful and a step in the right direction.”

In July, FIFA announced that it would establish a Reform Task Force comprising 10 representatives from its regional confederations and chaired by someone from outside the game – a setup widely criticised as not meeting the mark in terms of independence and transparency.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke has pledged to meet with sponsors this month. McDonald’s serves as a second-tier World Cup sponsor alongside Budweiser. Top-tier official partners are Adidas, Coca-Cola, Gazprom, Hyundai/Kia and Visa.