In the wake of a U.S. federal investigation of several officials and executives with soccer governing board FIFA, major corporate sponsor Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Motors said they are keeping a close eye on the situation.
“As a company that place the highest priority on ethical standards and transparency, Hyundai Motor is extremely concerned about the legal proceedings being taken against FIFA executives and will continue to monitor the situation closely,” Hyundai said in an emailed statement.
On Thursday, nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives were indicted in a U.S. federal court for racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and other antitrust offenses, the U.S. Department of Justice said. Four individual defendants and two corporate defendants have already pleaded guilty.
Hyundai-Kia signed an agreement with professional soccer’s international governing board in 2010 to become the official Automotive Partner of FIFA until 2022. The South Korean automakers have made several World Cup sponsorship appearances, including the 2002, 2006 and 2010 tournaments.
Hyundai-Kia is in a very small group of nine sponsors for the 2018 World Cup tournament in Russia. Other sponsors include Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa, Budweiser and McDonald’s.