- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ZURICH (AP) - Emirates airline on Tuesday became the latest leading corporate backer of FIFA to express concern about the corruption scandal within world soccer’s governing body.

The Dubai-based airline joined fellow World Cup sponsors Coca-Cola and Adidas in voicing disappointment about the crisis that has seen FIFA executives Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner suspended.

“Emirates, like all football fans around the world, is disappointed with the issues that are currently surrounding the administration of this sport,” Boutros Boutros, Emirates’ senior vice president for corporate communications, said in a statement.

“We hope that these issues will be resolved as soon as possible and the outcome will be in the interest of the game and sport in general.”

It is rare for sponsors of major international sports bodies to raise concerns about how they are being run.

An ethics panel ruled Sunday that it was launching a full investigation into claims that bin Hammam, the Asian Football Confederation president, and Warner, the CONCACAF president, offered $40,000 bribes to Caribbean soccer leaders ahead of the FIFA presidential election.

Bin Hammam withdrew his candidacy to challenge FIFA President Sepp Blatter in Wednesday’s election hours before being suspended on Sunday.

Coca-Cola has said “the current allegations being raised are distressing and bad for the sport.”

Sportswear manufacturer Adidas hit out at the “negative tenor” of the current situation, adding that it “is neither good for the sport of football nor for FIFA as an institution and its partners.”

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