UK supermarket Morrisons threatens to sue FIFA over ‘unfair’ World Cup bid process

But what’s it got to do with them?

Well UK supermarket group William Morrison was one of the sponsors of the unsuccessful England 2018 World Cup bid, investing £1m in a process costing £18m that gained just two votes out of 22 and a first round exit when the votes of the FIFA executives were counted.

The company also raised its head further above the parapet than other sponsors by organising a customer petition fronted by former England star Alan Shearer that gathered 1.65m signatures but, alas, failed to impress FIFA boss Sepp Blatter and his cronies.

So it’s probably feeling a bit foolish.

But that’s not the reason they’re thinking of suing says the company, they’re doing so because Blatter has acknowledged that FIFA decided to take the company to “new lands,” Russian in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, without telling any of the bidders from old lands.

This, Morrisons maintains, constitutes an “unfair process” and consequently it has engaged lawyers in FIFA’s home territory of Switzerland to see if there are grounds for legal action.

Morrisons denies that this is a stunt or simply that it is miffed that it wasted its money, stating that it thought the England bid was good in all respects, which is overstating it a bit.

It would still be a huge surprise if this ever came to court although someone, somewhere will probably succeed in going after the Blatter gang, such is the anger over what is widely seen as a skewed and possibly corrupt bid process.

FIFA has succeeded in turning the World Cup into the world’s biggest commercial as well as sporting event and the consequence of all that money (some of which appears to have benefited FIFA delegates along the way) is that you can’t just, as Blatter has done, dismiss the losers as “bad sports.”

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.