FIFA Sponsors Demand Independent Oversight and ‘Cultural Change’

Letter comes ahead of group's transparency discussions in Zurich

Once again, FIFA's sponsors have voiced their displeasure with the way the global soccer organization is handling its affairs amid an ongoing corruption scandal.

Today, five key sponsors—Adidas, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Visa—sent FIFA a strongly worded letter demanding "independent oversight" of the federation's reform process, stressing the urgent need for "cultural change."

In the missive, obtained by the Associated Press, the companies state that "any reforms should be subject to independent oversight. It has also become clear to us that such independent oversight needs to run long-term through the implementation and evolution of the reform process."

FIFA said its sponsors would play "an important role in the reform process," adding that it remains "committed to working with them to embrace positive changes so that we can fulfill our mission of promoting football around the world."

FIFA's executive committee is meeting in Zurich this week to discuss measures aimed at improving transparency and avoiding future scandals like those it currently faces.

In October, Coke, AB InBev, McDonald's and Visa demanded that embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter step down immediately. Blatter was subsequently suspended for 90 days along with other FIFA officials. A Swiss criminal proceeding has alleged that Blatter sold TV rights at below-market value to a former FIFA official, among other charges. Blatter has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

FIFA is expected to select a new president in February and vote on various reform proposals.

The organization has been reeling since news of a wide-ranging bribery and money-laundering scandal broke in May.