Athletic apparel giant Nike is heavily entangled in the massive FIFA bribery scandal according to analysis on the indictment released on Wednesday. Within the release by the Department of Justice there is an unidentified sportswear company that bribed a Brazilian soccer official to obtain a lucrative sponsorship agreement. That company is believed to be Nike.
The deal detailed in the indictment of FIFA officials tightly mirrors the one obtained by Nike when it signed a partnership with the Brazilian federation in 1996.
The company released a statement saying that it is cooperating with authorities. It also went on to say that:
“Nike believes in ethical and fair play in both business and sport and strongly opposes any form of manipulation or bribery. We have been cooperating, and will continue to cooperate, with the authorities.”
The Brazilian sponsorship agreement was vital to Nike and put it on the global soccer radar. From 1994 to present day the company saw soccer revenue climb from $40 million to over $2 billion today.
Nike shares were down .6 percent upon news of the revelations but the ball probably has not dropped given the full extent of Nike's involvement is yet to be determined.
Charges could still be pending against the company and its executives, as the DOJ confirmed that the investigation into the scandal is ongoing.