Gillette ends deal with Brazil national soccer team amid crackdown

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 06, 2015 5:02 PM

By Andrew Downie

(Reuters) - Gillette ended its sponsorship of Brazil's national soccer team in June, just days after the former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) was arrested as part of a U.S.-led investigation into corruption, a spokesman for the organization confirmed on Sunday.

The shaving brand, owned by Proctor & Gamble Co., sponsored Brazil's friendly matches and staged photo opportunities at which players, including Barcelona's Dani Alves and Chelsea's Oscar, shaved their faces in front of fans and media.

Prosecutors accused Jose Maria Marin, who headed Brazil's preparations to host the 2014 World Cup, of racketeering, fraud and other crimes.

Last week, his successor, Marco Polo Del Nero, and his predecessor, Ricardo Teixeira, were among other global soccer executives indicted on similar charges by U.S. prosecutors.

Proctor & Gamble officials in Brazil and the United States did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The CBF spokesman would not disclose further details about the severed sponsorship, which was first reported by the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper on Sunday.

It is unclear how much the sponsorship was worth in monetary terms.

So far, Gillette is the only sponsor to abandon Brazil's national team, which also has deals with other major brands including Chevrolet, Mastercard, Nike, Samsung and Brazilian bank Itau.

More than 40 global soccer officials, the majority of them from the Americas, have been arrested or indicted in recent months, ratcheting up pressure on sponsors to take a stance.

Marin, who was CBF president until April, is accused of having taken bribes in connection with sports marketing rights.

The 83-year old was extradited last month from Switzerland to the U.S., where he pleaded not guilty to corruption charges.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Alan Crosby)