FIFA hire U.S consultants to handle 'reputational' issues

By Simon Evans

By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - Global soccer's governing body FIFA, which is currently mired in a corruption scandal, has hired New York-based crisis communications and advisory firm Teneo as it seeks to cope with investigations by U.S. and Swiss authorities and tries to improve its badly tarnished image.

A FIFA spokeswoman told Reuters that the organization had retained Teneo "to work across operational and reputational priorities".

Teneo officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

In May, U.S. prosecutors indicted nine soccer officials, most of whom had FIFA positions, and five marketing and broadcasting company executives with a range of bribery-related offences, including fraud, money-laundering and racketeering.

Seven soccer officials were arrested in Zurich two days before FIFA's annual congress, throwing the governing body into turmoil.

Teneo's executives include a number of people who have worked on World Cup bids.

Teneo company president Doug Band was a director of the campaign by the U.S. to seek the rights to hold the World Cup in 2022. The bid lost out to Qatar in a vote of FIFA executive committee members that is now one subject of U.S. and Swiss investigations.

Band was an adviser to former President Bill Clinton - during his time in office and for many years after. Clinton himself helped the U.S. present its World Cup bid proposal to FIFA.

Former Democratic Senator George Mitchell, who was a special adviser to President Clinton, is a 'senior adviser' to Teneo.

Michael Coakley, senior vice-president of Teneo's strategy team, was an adviser on that U.S bid as well as Qatar's unsuccessful bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

The co-president of Teneo's sports division, Terrence Burns, has worked on a number of sports event bid proposals including the successful Russian bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

(The story has been refiled to correct spelling of Qatar in seventh paragraph)

(Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Martin Howell)

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