Visa Calls For Independent Panel For FIFA Reforms

Amid commentary tied to a strong fiscal third quarter, higher payment processing volumes and growing Visa Checkout trends, Visa CEO Charles Scharf threw some pointed commentary FIFA’s way.

During his remarks on Visa’s financial performance Thursday (July 23) and as noted by The Wall Street Journal, Scharf said an independent commission was necessary to push reforms at the worldwide body that governs the sport of soccer.

As has been widely reported, FIFA has been under a cloud tied to a far-reaching corruption scandal and investigation, which has uncovered decades of bribery, among other charges. Formal indictments came from U.S. prosecutors in May, with formal charges lobbied against more than a dozen people.

Visa has been vocal about the scandal in the past, having stated that its sponsorship of soccer’s World Cup, via an agreement that is slated to run through 2022, may be in jeopardy.

The latest shot across the bow came during the earnings call, when the executive said that the organization’s responses thus far following the indictment have been “wholly inadequate and continue to show [FIFA’s] lack of awareness of the seriousness of the changes which are needed.”

Scharf, and Visa, seem to be implying that a possible parting of ways between the company and the regulatory body is not imminent, at least for now. “We want to be proud to be associated with FIFA and hope and look forward to working with them to that end,” Scharf said on Thursday.

Separately, WSJ reported that investigations are continuing within the U.S. as to whether banks “should have raised alarms” tied to money flows that may have been tied to the corruption at FIFA mentioned above. WSJ cited “people familiar with the matter” that remained unnamed. 

Separate probes are underway by Brooklyn’s U.S. Attorney General’s office and the top financial regulator of New York, who together have been in contact with more than a dozen banks. Among those banks are HSBC Holding, Standard Chartered and Delta National Bank, WSJ said.


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