Nike “cooperating” with authorities amid FIFA scam
Nike said it has been cooperating, and will continue to cooperate, with the authorities
US sportswear giant Nike has said it is cooperating with authorities as it emerged an unidentified sportswear company took part in bribing a Brazilian soccer official for a sponsorship agreement.
The news comes as part of a crackdown on alleged corruption at FIFA in which a joint investigation between the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Swiss authorities resulted in the charging of nine FIFA officials with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.
Amidst a 161-page indictment by the US Justice Department are allegations of bribery involving a "multinational sportswear company headquartered in the US".
Nike is not named in the document, although the company signed a sponsorship deal with Brazilian national soccer federation CBF in 1996, the same year in which the events described in the indictment take place.
While not commenting specifically on the indictment, Nike said it has been cooperating, and will continue to cooperate, with the authorities.
A spokesperson added: "Like fans everywhere we care passionately about the game and are concerned by the very serious allegations. Nike believes in ethical and fair play in both business and sport and strongly opposes any form of manipulation or bribery."
According to the indictment, Sportswear Company A signed a ten-year deal in 1996 for the payment of $160m to become a co-sponsor of the CBF and its "exclusive footwear, apparel, accessories, and equipment supplier".
Sportswear Company A then agreed to pay an affiliate of sports-marketing agency Traffic Brazil an additional $40m in base compensation on top of the $160m it was obliged to pay CBF.
Between 1996 and 1999, Sportswear Company A was invoiced for an additional $30m in payments by Traffic, for bribes and kickbacks, according to the indictment.
The agreement was terminated on, or about, 25 January 2002, before the end of the ten-year agreement.
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