Chinese sponsors see opportunity to influence China's World Cup hosting chances

Football fans in Russia will be surrounded by unfamiliar brands and products as a lot of western companies pull out of having their name associated with FIFA. FIFA is now closely associated with the sort of slime-ball corruption that most sane companies would prefer to avoid having their name attached to, as has been the case for the Russian World Cup.

A multitude of Chinese companies have stepped in to fill the void and line FIFA’s pockets with plenty of RNB to keep them smiling all the way to the bank. Western companies such as Sony, Johnson & Johnson and BP’s Castro have decided against sponsoring FIFA because of the corruption and bribery scandals. Chinese firms have upped their presence and will be seen on TV or stadiums pretty much throughout the whole World Cup.

There will be a 7 minute advertisement for Mongolian milk and drinkable yoghurt from Inner Mongolia’s Mengniu Group, and the commercial will be shown during every game at the finals. Chinese companies haven’t stopped there however, they have also made sure their products will be sold inside the stadiums in Russia too, if you fancy an ice cream inside the stadium – the only choice will be one that FIFA have allowed to be sold, and those are Chinese brands: Mood for Green, Ice+ or Suibian SuiXinGuo because Mengui Group have secured exclusive rights to sell drinks and sweet snacks inside the stadiums in Russia.

You will also see ads for China’s copy of the iPhone and all sorts of assorted electronic products that aren’t really known outside of China like, the TV and fridge maker Hisense; the electric scooter company Yadea; and Dalian Wanda, a conglomerate controlled by the multibillionaire Wang Jianlin.

Simon Chadwick, professor of sports enterprise at Salford University, said: “As Fifa is now seen as a toxic brand that many western companies do not want to be associated with, China is seizing the opportunity.

“The Chinese view of ethics and governance is different to western standards, and it is very easy for Chinese companies to say ‘Fifa has moved on’. And, that they were not backing the Sepp Blatter-era regime and are supporting a clean Fifa under Gianni Infantino”.

The Mengnui Group will not be concerned about FIFA’s toxic reputation, as in 2008 Mengnui were one of the companies at the centre of the milk scandal which involved baby formula which saw 54,000 babies hospitalised and six babies die from kidney stones, or other kidney damage. The scandal involved milk and infant formula along with other food materials and components being adulterated with melamine. The chemical gives the appearance that the milk has a higher protein content when it is added to milk therefore leading to protein deficiencies. So one could say that Mengniu and FIFA are ideal bed partners as both organisations seem rotten to the core.

China is definitely making a statement here, by showing they can support the World Cup financially by enticing a lot of sponsorship to get involved. Make no doubt about it, people in positions of power at FIFA and other corporations where money can be made by the bucketload will be taking notice at how much money China can throw at an event like the World Cup, and this will be beneficial in helping them host a World Cup in the future. It is not a case of if China will get a World Cup, but more like when will China get a World Cup? Even if you take into account the new rule change in regards to voting, China will host a World Cup in the future.

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