BUSINESS

Scotiabank to review CONCACAF sponsorship following corruption charges

05/28/2015 01:22 EDT | Updated 05/28/2016 05:59 EDT
CALGARY - One of Canada's largest banks says it will review its involvement in sponsoring CONCACAF in the wake of corruption allegations against senior FIFA officials.

Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) in December signed on as a major sponsor of the governing body for soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. That deal saw the bank became the title sponsor of the organization's Champions League tournament and official sponsor of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Those arrangements are now in question.

"We are deeply disturbed by these allegations involving CONCACAF officials and take them very seriously," Scotiabank said in a statement Thursday. "We have zero tolerance for these types of actions from any of our partners."

The bank said it couldn't comment on specifics because the matter is under investigation, but it will review its involvement as more details become available.

CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb was arrested Wednesday in Switzerland on racketeering and bribery charges, one of seven senior FIFA officials apprehended as part of a US$150 million bribery and kickback scandal.

Eduardo Li, president of Costa Rica's soccer federation, was also arrested, and FBI agents raided CONCACAF's offices in Miami.

CONCACAF announced Thursday that its executive committee had "provisionally dismissed" Webb and Li.

Scotiabank's decision to review its sponsorship comes as global FIFA sponsors voice strong criticism of the scandal.

Visa Inc. said it would be reassessing its sponsorship if FIFA fails to make immediate changes.

"Our disappointment and concern with FIFA in light of today's developments is profound," Visa said in a statement. "As a sponsor, we expect FIFA to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its organization."

Coca-Cola was also critical of the organization.

"This lengthy controversy has tarnished the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup and we have repeatedly expressed our concerns about these serious allegations," Coca-Cola said in a statement.