FIFA are heading for a sponsorship crisis a year on from president Gianni Infantino’s first Congress at which he pledged to restore confidence following Sepp Blatter’s corrupt regime.
World football’s ruling body made a loss of $369million (£289million) in 2016 and 23 backers still have to be found for a sponsorship model that has 34 slots to fill.
Blue-chip firms such as Castrol, Continental Tyres and Johnson & Johnson have been lost, with no replacements emerging.
FIFA are heading for a sponsorship crisis a year on from Gianni Infantino’s first Congress
The biggest hole is at the third tier, which has 20 places available. Only one has been brought on board, a Russian bank who are understood to be paying well below the ambitious, £7.8m asking price. Even a home World Cup next year has failed to attract significant Russian interest.
FIFA’s best hope of restoring their finances is to set plans in motion at the forthcoming Congress for a joint bid from the USA, Mexico and Canada to stage the 2026 World Cup. That way, big American companies might come to the rescue.
Meanwhile, still on the FIFA gravy train is former FA chairman Geoff Thompson, who carries on receiving £78,000-a-year plus a daily expenses allowance for chairing the dispute resolution chamber, six years after he left the executive.
Still on the FIFA gravy train is former FA chairman Geoff Thompson, who earns £78,000-a-year
John Terry, now surplus to requirements at Chelsea, has told friends he feels in good enough condition for another three years of football and it is understood Stoke have emerged as one of his Premier League options.
John Terry thinks he still has three years of football left in him and Stoke are interested
Baroness Grey-Thompson opened herself up to criticism over a potential conflict of interests by being a London Marathon pundit on the BBC when she also sits on the new BBC board as an independent non-executive director.
A Beeb spokeswoman said Tanni is free to work for them in a professional capacity, relating to her expertise.
Baroness Grey-Thompson opened herself up to criticism over a potential conflict of interests
The NFL’s London operation is moving this week to bigger, plusher offices in Leicester Square — another sign that it is only a matter of time before an American football franchise is based here.
Keeping track of the field
UK Sport’s concentration of Olympic funding on podium hopefuls is showcased by a giant medal tracker board in their offices at Loughborough that lists all the potential medallists and everything about them — including an asterisk for missing out-of-competition drugs tests.
The Talent Lab (Ebury, £20), written by leading sports journalist Owen Slot and published on Thursday, reveals that in the lead-up to the Rio Games, there was an asterisk beside 15 of the 200 GB names or teams.
One athlete, cyclist Lizzie Armitstead (now going by Deignan following her marriage), had two asterisks — which meant a performance manager was detailed to help her. Nevertheless she missed another test and only an appeal saved her from suspension from Rio.
The missed tests by Lizzie Deignan (nee Armitstead) were being tracked by UK Sport
Glory be. The RFU have turned their back on £3m-plus worth of new debenture revenue and admirably agreed to keep the Twickenham press box in its prime position in the East Stand despite all the corporate seat changes around it.
This contrasts with numerous greedy football clubs who have moved the press to inferior seating when renovating stands or building new stadiums.
The RFU have turned their back on £3million-plus worth of new debenture revenue
William Hill’s strange revamp of their PR department has resulted in not only the irreplaceable Graham Sharpe being made redundant after 45 years’ service, but the bookmakers leaving themselves with no specialist horse-racing operator at a time when major rivals Ladbrokes and Coral have merged forces.
Sharpe, 66, who had wanted to stay for two more years, will continue to chair the judging panel for the William Hill sports book of the year in a freelance capacity.
Arsene Wenger, 67, could be found in the hotel gym at 8am on the day of Arsenal’s FA Cup semi final, which the club say is a regular occurrence on the road or at their training ground. Hardly the regime of someone planning to call it a day.
Arsene Wenger’s gym routine hardly suggests he is on the verge of walking away from Arsenal