ZURICH: World soccer governing body FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) has fired four top marketing executives after a US court ruled they had "lied repeatedly" in negotiations with sponsors MasterCard.

The dismissed quartet - TV and marketing director Jerome Valcke plus Stefan Schuster, Tom Houseman and Rob Lampman - have been sacrificed as the part of the organisation's post-lawsuit damage limitation.

Last week a New York court upheld MasterCard's claim that FIFA had violated the terms of its sponsorship contract by signing a deal with arch rival Visa after agreeing to renew MasterCard's World Cup sponsorship for a further eight years [WARC News: 11-Dec-06].

Judge Loretta Preska directed FIFA to reinstate its former contract with MasterCard for the period 2007-2014. She blamed the soccer body for misleading the company, which had a right of first refusal after sponsoring the 2006 tournament in Germany.

A FIFA statement read: "The FIFA employees who had conducted negotiations with Visa and MasterCard were accused of repeated dishonesty during negotiations and of giving false information to the FIFA-deciding bodies in question.

"Even though the judgment has proved to be very biased in favour of MasterCard, the fact cannot be overlooked that FIFA's negotiations breached its business principles. FIFA cannot possibly accept such conduct among its own employees."

Data sourced from Brand Republic (UK); additional content by WARC staff