Adidas mulls ‘alternatives’ to sponsoring FIFA

Frankfurt :The head of German sportswear giant Adidas hinted for the first time today at the possibility of cutting links with FIFA in the wake of the corruption allegations dogging the bidding process for the 2006 World Cup.

“If FIFA succeeds in reforming itself—and in my view they’re making good progress here—then we will continue,” Adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer told the business daily Handelsblatt.

Adidas has sponsored FIFA for more than 40 years and the current contract runs until 2030.

But if FIFA fails to get its house in order, “we will have to think about what the alternatives are,” Hainer said.
German football has been engulfed by claims that a 6.7 million euro ($7.2 million) payment to FIFA was used to purchase the votes of four members of FIFA’s executive committee in 2000 — days before Germany narrowly won the right to host the 2006 finals.

FIFA chief Sepp Blatter has been suspended by the organisation he has headed for 17 years, and faces a hearing at the ethics committee over allegations of corruption.

While a number of other major sponsors, such as Coca-Cola and VISA, have called on Blatter to go, Adidas has so far taken a more conciliatory tone.

Hainer’s comments to the Handelsblatt are the first time he has hinted at rupturing ties with FIFA.

He rejected suggestions that Adidas might have known about the shady wheelings and dealings going on within FIFA.

“No-one can claim Adidas is responsible,” he said.

Thai court jails woman at ‘secret’ ruling over Facebook posts From Yoshita Singh

New York, Dec 16 (PTI) An American teenager accused of brutally beating an elderly Sikh man in the US and calling him a “terrorist” and “Bin Laden” has pleaded guilty to one count of hate crime, a media report said.

The 17-year-old, whose name was not released, pleaded guilty on December 7 to hitting Inderjit Mukker, 53, of Darien and will be sentenced in February in juvenile court.

Mukker was assaulted on September 8 when the Willowbrook teen pulled up to his car yelling racial slurs, including, “Terrorist, go back to your country, Bin Laden!”

A US citizen and father of two, Mukker was on his way to a grocery store and was repeatedly cut off by a driver.
He pulled over to the side of the road to let the driver pass, but the driver instead pulled in front of his car and aggressively approached Mukker’s vehicle.

The assailant then reached into the car and repeatedly punched Mukker in the face, causing him to lose consciousness, bleed profusely and suffer a fractured cheekbone and a laceration to his cheek.
He was rushed to the hospital, where he received six stitches, treatment for lacerations, bruising and
Harsimran Kaur, the coalition’s legal director and Mukker’s attorney, said Mukker was in the courtroom when his attacker entered his plea.

“We are pleased the defendant is accepting responsibility for the impact of his actions on Mukker and the Sikh community,” Kaur was quoted as saying by the Chicago Tribune.

“We believe it’s important to acknowledge hate when it happens. We will continue to monitor the case when it goes to sentencing,” she said.

The suspect was identified through a description of the offender and his license plate number.

When the police went to the teen’s home, he resisted arrest and punched an officer in the face, the state’s attorney’s office charged.

The Sikh Coalition, a civil and human rights advocacy group, had called for the case to be prosecuted as a hate crime.

Initially authorities had said they will not bring hate crime charges against the teenager, sparking outrage among members of the community who had been demanding that prosecutors try the suspect under federal hate crime laws.

Mukker had expressed strong disappointment at the decision saying he was “appalled and disgusted”.

“What happened to me on Tuesday night is the definition of hate,” he had said.

The Sikh Coalition’s legal team pursued the case and met with the DuPage State’s Attorney’s Office, sharing additional evidence and information that showed hatred to be the primary motivation behind the crime.

Later State’s Attorney Robert Berlin announced the juvenile petition had been amended to include one count of hate crime, after further investigation and the discovery of additional evidence.