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Qatar Corruption Claims: Coca-Cola 'Concerned'

The European boss of Coca-Cola says the firm is "concerned" about corruption claims within football's global governing body, Fifa.

James Quincey, President of Coca-Cola Europe, told Sky News: "We are a leading sponsor of the World Cup and we are concerned.

"Anything that detracts from the values of football, the values of the World Cup, the idea of fair play is of concern to us, yes absolutely."

Mr Quincey's comments are significant because Coca-Cola is one of Fifa's leading sponsors along with Adidas (Other OTC: ADDDF - news) , Budweiser, Sony (Berlin: SON1.BE - news) and Visa (NYSE: V - news) and, as such, a major provider of revenues to the organisation, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Fifa's coffers.

Fifa has been engulfed by criticism over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to the tiny Gulf state of Qatar and allegations that bribes were paid by former Qatari football boss Mohamed Bin Hammam in order to secure the competition.

Earlier this week, Sepp Blatter, Fifa's under-fire president, dismissed these allegations and said they had been whipped up by a "racist" British media.

Yet this inflamed the situation and led to calls on Tuesday from a succession of European football chiefs for Mr Blatter to step down.

Mr Blatter, 78, is expected to announce on Thursday that he intends to stand for a fifth term as president despite promising last time he stood that he would step down at the end of his present term.

Asked whether Mr Blatter deserved another term, Mr Quincey said: "I think what we would say is let's focus on the investigation, let's make sure we have a great World Cup, it's starting imminently, and then it's up to the football associations to decide their future.

"I think building football on the values of football is very important to us."

Fifa has appointed a US attorney, Michael Garcia, to investigate the allegations and is expected to report back within months.

:: Ian King Live broadcasts from 6.30-7pm Monday to Thursday.

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