Sony, a major sponsor of FIFA and the World Cup, has elected not to renew its contract with soccer's governing organization. The contract will run out at the end of the calendar year.
The announcement represents yet another PR blow for FIFA as it tries to recover from allegations of bribery and fraud in its World Cup bidding process. This one, however, also carries significant financial implications. Sony was one of six official partners of FIFA and was at the end of an eight-year sponsorship deal worth $280 million.
Sony's move follows a similar announcement by the Emirate Airlines, which announced earlier this month that it would end its own sponsorship.
In announcing the decision, Sony cited FIFA's ongoing ethical inquiries as well as the tech company's own internal restructuring as its motivation to let the sponsorship run out.
Sony had been a prominent voice this summer in asking FIFA to conduct a full review of its corruption allegations. FIFA's ensuing attempt to cover up the full extent of the report's negative findings no doubt played in to Sony's decision.
While FIFA refuses to consider moving the 2022 World Cup from Qatar, where related construction projects are being driven by slave labor, the organization is facing some of the most genuine threats in recent memory. In addition to the lost sponsorship funds, a number of countries are prepared to consider boycotting the 2022 World Cup unless significant changes -- including new leadership within the organization -- are made.
But so far, FIFA has given no hint it will accommodate those interests.