Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Turkey's assistant coach quits while FIFA loves Coke™

Turkey assistant coach Mehmet Ozdilek resigned on Tuesday amid reports of his involvement in the mayhem that broke out after last Wednesday's WCQ against Switzerland.

The Turkish FA released a statement confirming Ozdilek's resignation, but did not give any details as to why. However, from various photos and other footage, it does appear that Ozdilek tried to trip a Swiss player while he was leaving the pitch. This action lead to the brawl.

I think those in charge of Turkish soccer are starting to realize how serious this situation is and are taking steps to appease FIFA ahead of their investigation. It was a good idea for Ozdilek to resign (and I'm sure he was pushed), but I don't know if it will be enough to save their team form banishment. I'm sure at some point they will need to accept full responsibility for the events that happened on their field.

But now on to more sugary news. FIFA and Coca-Cola signed a contract today that will extend their commercial partnership till 2022! The contract is worth about $500 million.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he was happy to have the deal worked out and that Coca-Cola has been a great partner for many years. He specifically pointed to 1975 when FIFA was desperately looking for sponsors to shore up its rocky finances, saying, "We asked many, many companies to help us and there was one answer from Coca-Cola which said, 'We believe in the future of football.' And we said, 'We believe in the future of your soft drinks.'"

Coke will have exclusive rights to all non-alcoholic beverage sales at all FIFA's major competitions. Coke will also sponsor a "FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour" and be involved in a plan to bring discounted tickets for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to ordinary African soccer fans.


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