Sony Corp. does not plan to renew its World Cup sponsorship contract with FIFA because of a priority of restructuring within the company as well as concerns over the transparency of the bidding process for 2018 and 2022, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The move by the Japanese electronics maker would follow Emirates airlines' announcement this month that it was ending its FIFA sponsorship, a blow to the governing body as it investigates whether there was corruption in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
According to the WSJ, a source said that the company aims to reduce costs as it restructures its electronics division, including the smartphone business, which was a large part of Sony's World Cup-related marketing. But the company was also concerned about the possible negative impact of further associations with FIFA, the WSJ also reported.
Sony has sponsored FIFA for eight years as one of six official partners in a contract that expires next month and that is worth 33 billion yen ($280 million).
Last week, the head of FIFA's auditing committee said he would examine the full 430-page confidential report by American prosecutor Michael Garcia into impropriety during the World Cup bid process, reviving a probe that FIFA had previously said was conclusive.
In June, Sony asked FIFA to conduct a thorough investigation of corruption allegations, saying it expected the organization to "adhere to its principles of integrity, ethics and fair play across all aspects of its operations," the WSJ reported.
"The existing contract with Sony runs until 31 December 2014 and we are currently in discussions with the brand," FIFA told the newspaper in an emailed statement.