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Barcelona consider changing sponsors over 'social and political issues' in Qatar

Josep Maria Bartomeu pictured on the left when Barcelona signed Neymar. Credit: PA

Josep Maria Bartomeu believes "social and political issues" may force Barcelona to seek new sponsors next year.

The Spanish giants agreed a five-year deal with Qatar Sports Investment in 2011 worth a whopping £125m.

Club president Bartomeu expressed his gratitude for the substantial investment during an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1, but admits the political landscape has changed since the Gulf state was controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar is an issue where we are looking at other options. Their contract finishes in 2016 and then it could be them or another sponsor.

We're not insensitive to the current situation in Qatar because there are social and political issues there that didn't exist in 2010 and we're sensitive to them.

As a sponsor we're happy and they make a contribution to the club, but we are also looking at other options. It wasn't a bad idea. Qatar have helped us improve the club economically.

– Josep Maria Bartomeu


FA: We did seek 'background information' on World Cup bids

The Football Association has said that "media and corporate affairs consultants" were used to gather background information on other countreis' World Cup bids.

But the FA says it disclosed all its activities to ethics investigator Michael Garcia as part of his investigation into the bidding process.

The Sunday Times has published claims that officials received information from former MI6 staff about the Russian and Qatari World Cup bids.

However this and the paper's claims there is a "database" of intelligence on rival bids has not been corroborated.

In a statement the FA said the England 2018 team "complied with all disclosure requests" from Mr Garcia.

The FA can confirm the England 2018 bid engaged with a number of parties around the world to provide general and background information on the progress of the bidding process within different countries and perspectives.

These were media and corporate affairs consultants engaged on a confidential basis to gather intelligence.

The fact the bid team had taken advice on intelligence gathering was referenced to Mr Garcia as part of the investigative process.

The FA reiterates that it has fully complied with all disclosure requests made by Mr Garcia.

– FA statement

Claims officials 'used information from ex-spies for World Cup probe'

England officials allegedly used information gathered by former MI6 agents about Russia and Qatar's World Cup bids, the Sunday Times reports.

The claims are contained in a dossier compiled by the paper that has been submitted to Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

According to the paper, a secret intelligence database linked to England's bid for the 2018 tournament includes unproven claims that Russia and Qatar swapped votes with each other to help ensure their bids were successful.

Among the allegations is that the Russian bid team handed out valuable paintings to officials from other countries to help secure votes.

Fifa open investigation against Germany legend Beckenbauer

Franz Beckenbauer is being investigated. Credit: PA

Germany football legend Franz Beckenbauer is under investigation by American attorney Michael Garcia along with Harold Mayne-Nicholls from Chile, who headed the inspection team which compiled reports into the countries bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The investigations come after Garcia stated "a number of individuals" have had formal cases opened against them.

Fifa members under investigation following Garcia report

Angel Maria Villar Llona is one of the members being investigated. Credit: PA

Three current Fifa executive committee members - Spain's Angel Maria Villar Llona, Michel D'Hooghe from Belgium and Worawi Makudi from Thailand - are under investigation by ethics chief Michael Garcia following his probe into World Cup bidding, Press Association Sport understands.


Sony decides against renewing FIFA sponsorship

Sony has been a FIFA sponsor for eight years. Credit: Reuters

Sony does not plan to renew its sponsorship contract with FIFA, as the Japanese electronics maker needs to prioritise its restructuring efforts, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Such a move would follow Emirates Airline's announcement this month that it was ending its sponsorship of FIFA, a blow to the governing body as it investigates whether there was corruption in the bidding process for the next two World Cup competitions.

Sony has been a FIFA sponsor for the eight years to 2014 in a contract worth £180m.

Sony on Tuesday said it was aiming to restructure its television and mobile divisions further, while targeting robust growth for its electronics devices division, which houses its growing image sensors business.

Coca-Cola criticises 'disappointing' Fifa World Cup report

Coca-Cola have hit out at Fifa over the handling of a controversial report into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments were awarded.

Ethics investigator Michael Garcia disagreed with the conclusions reached by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, whose report exonerated the bids made by Qatar and Russia for the respective tournaments.

Coca-Cola hit out over the World Cup report. Credit: Reuters

The drinks company, which is one of Fifa's longest-standing and biggest sponsors, issued a statement criticising the furore:

Anything that detracts from the mission and ideals of the Fifa World Cup is a concern to us. The current conflicting perspectives regarding the investigation are disappointing. Our expectation is that this will be resolved quickly in a transparent and efficient manner.

– Coca-Cola spokesman
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