Sony has ended a 10-year sponsorship with FIFA that had put PlayStation's name on the pitch for the previous two World Cups.
The console maker says it opted out because of anticipated rising sponsorship costs
. Still, the abandoned partnership comes as football's world governing body is under attack for the bribed awarding of World Cup bids to Russia for 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
Earlier this month, FIFA released an abridged report
of an investigation into the bribery surrounding the Russian and Qatari World Cup bids, which formally cleared FIFA, Qatari and Russian officials while chastising England's bid committee. The lead investigator himself then challenged FIFA's version of his report as "incomplete and erroneous." FIFA later asked Switzerland's attorney general to open a criminal investigation
into the matter.
Even more problematic for FIFA and its affiliates is the fact that Qatar is using slave labor from South Asia, and even from North Korean prisons, to build its venues, and that the death toll from that construction could hit 4,000 before the the event is staged.
Sony's sponsorship of FIFA was estimated at $277 million, according to Nikkei
, and was a sponsor representing "digital life," one of six "major fields" from which FIFA had sought a partnership. Samsung is rumored as a possible successor.
FIFA has exclusively licensed Electronic Arts' globally dominant, award-winning football video game simulation since 1993.