The corruption scandal facing the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) will force the organisation's corporate sponsors to review their own ethical position and reputation, according to a Charles Sturt University (CSU) expert.
Adjunct lecturer in marketing and project management Mr Andrew Mashman believes FIFA's corporate sponsors must reflect on their own actions and how they position themselves ethically before pulling their sponsorship.
"A number of FIFA's corporate sponsors are, quite reasonably, distancing themselves from the organisation at this time," Mr Mashman said.
"Each organisation must protect their own image and reputation and not be seen to be supporting corruption. However, a lot of the sponsors have stood with FIFA through previous scandals and they must now decide where they draw the line.
"Realistically, being a sponsor of the FIFA World Cup is some of the best exposure a brand can have so sponsors will be in a dilemma and need to weigh up the benefits of exposure versus the benefits of being ethically responsible."
Mr Mashman believes a proactive response from FIFA could save the organisation millions in sponsorship funding.
"FIFA appear to be working closely with its corporate sponsors. They were proactive and said early on that they see this as an opportunity to rebuild the organisation and sponsors as a crucial part of the journey," Mr Mashman said.
"If FIFA does in fact rise from the ashes, then sponsors have an invaluable opportunity to be part of that journey and would be crazy to miss it. However, with investigators saying they are looking into individuals and entities in a variety of countries, times may get worse before they get better.
"If a sponsor has been involved in unethical behaviour then they too need to get on the front foot as soon as possible. This investigation will be thorough and you will need to have a very strong image and reputation to come out the other side – this now being a key challenge for FIFA."