Visa inconsistent in its stances on Fifa, Mega

Credit card giant must follow through on pressure for change.

Earlier this week, Visa said it would reconsider its relationship with Fifa if change was not undertaken.

The credit card giant should now follow through on that pressure. It should set a deadline for the international football body to clean house – or simply walk away today.

Fifa earns $US177 million a year from its family of sponsors that includes Visa, McDonalds, Coca Cola and Hyundai.

On Thursday, US prosecutors indicted 14 people from football’s world governing body, seven of whom were arrested at a luxury hotel in Zurich by Swiss police, for alleged bribes and kickbacks worth more than $US100 million over two decades. An FBI investigation is expected to lead to further arrests.

All of Fifa's marketing partners have expressed concern that Fifa faces sweeping allegations of corruption. 

My focus on Visa is because it has (along with MasterCard) effectively knee-capped Mega by pressuring Paypal into withdrawing payment service. Mega has yet to sign up an alternative provider to process online payments; it will be tricky to find one that isn't equally susceptible to pressure from the two credit card giants (Visa declined comment).

The Kim Dotcom-founded file sharing service has not been charged with breaking any law in New Zealand, the US or elsewhere (and I'm sure authorities in both countries would jump at the chance if there were any hint of wrongdoing). Visa and others have targeted Mega because of its potential for law breaking and, quite possibly, because of its founder's track record (Mr Dotcom does face piracy, racketeering and money laundering charges related to his previous venture, Megaupload. One former exec has already pleaded guilty).

It seems inconsistent that Visa has not taken equally proactive action with Fifa, where charges have been filed over money laundering, racketeering and bribery.

There was no immediate sign that newly re-elected president Sepp Blatter was about to alter his signature style. His victory speech included the Onion-esque line "I am the president now, the president of everybody." Nor has he accepted any responsibility for the events that have taken place under his watch.

Fifa member countries were unable to send a message to their five-term boss. It now falls to Visa and other sponsors to let him know he's not bulletproof.

Login in or Register to view & post comments