Energy Quote of the Day: Gazprom Brushes Aside FIFA Scandal

on May 28, 2015 at 3:00 PM
gazprom fifa

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter (left) and Gazprom Management Committee Chairman Alexey Miller sign sponsorship deal in 2013, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko in background. Photo from Gazprom with permission.

Major FIFA sponsors came out with statements of concern after the arrests of officials and ex-officials from the global soccer governing body as well as various marketing executives. Visa was particularly strong in calling on FIFA to take “immediate steps” to clean itself up. “Should FIFA fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship,” the credit card company said.

And what of Gazprom? The state-controlled energy giant became a top-level FIFA sponsor in 2013, but it appears not to be overflowing with concern.

“Of course, Gazprom’s sponsorship agreement is not affected by the situation around FIFA. How can this situation affect it? It simply can’t. It’s unrelated.” – Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kuprianov in a CNN report.

Gazprom’s comments fit right in with the Russian government’s reaction to the widening scandal. Questions have been raised about the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia, and President Vladimir Putin brushed aside the indictments as a U.S. ploy to disrupt the tournament and “yet another obvious attempt to spread their jurisdiction to other (countries),” he said.

FIFA itself had investigated charges of irregularities into the awarding of the 2018 World Cup as well as the 2022 tourrnmant finals, which went to Qatar. Not surprisingly, confidence in those investigations is not high, and Swiss authorities have launched their own probe into 10 people “who took part in voting on the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups as members of the Executive Committee in 2010,”