Business in the News: Ethics
FEEL GOOD FOODS, FIFA & CORRUPTION
This is a research paper that focuses on ethics and corporate social responsibility. These themes are
viewed through the lens of a topical issue reported on widely in the news media: corruption in
professional sports and its impact on sponsors. This assignment requires you to form an opinion and
argue your point of view.
BACKGROUND: Professional sport is a global industry, and one of the world’s biggest sports events is
soccer’s World Cup, played every four years in a different country. It’s a source of national pride for
countries to play in the finals. It also represents an enormous marketing opportunity for companies who
sign sponsorship deals with the game’s global organizer, FIFA. FIFA is not a transparent organization and
its members have frequently been accused of corruption. Most recently, FIFA delegates allegedly took
bribes in return for their support of Qatar’s bid to stage the men’s World Cup finals in 2022. Qatar’s
desert climate can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius, yet Qatar won the bid and will now host this premier
sports event. World Cup sponsors are concerned about the repeated allegations of corruption against FIFA
and fear it will taint their brands. At the 2014 men’s World Cup in Brazil, event sponsors Adidas, Coca
Cola, Sony and Visa took the unusual stance of publicly calling on FIFA to deal with the bribery
BIG DECISION FOR A NEW SPONSOR: Feel Good Foods is a Vancouver-based company making
headway in Canada’s snack food market. It has one product: TEAM5® high-protein energy bars. The
bars are made from ingredients that exclude five key allergens common in many other bars: wheat, gluten,
nuts, eggs & milk. TEAM5’s key ingredients are a vegan-friendly blend of plant-based proteins and
stevia, a natural sweetener that contains zero additional calories. The bars come in three flavours: Banana
Breakout, Simply Strawberry, and Chocolate Explosion. (See appendix)
TEAM5 bars are only available in BC at the moment but the company has aspirations to go Canada-wide.
To test the waters, it’s planning a major marketing push to enhance consumer awareness of its brand. It’s
considering a $75,000 sponsorship deal with FIFA, a lot of money for a small company. This would allow
it to use the FIFA logo on its labels and to reach a young, active demographic by promoting its wares at
the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada. The deal would also include marketing rights for the men’s
U17 world championship in 2015 in Chile, if the company wanted them.
A stumbling block is FIFA’s reputation for fraud and corruption. Feel Good Foods’ marketing manager
Logan Willoughby has heard about FIFA’s problems and is worried that its negative image will rub off on
the brand. He wants you to research the issue and to advise him on whether he should sign a FIFA
sponsorship deal or not. As a burgeoning company, he wants to connect Feel Good Foods and TEAM5
with the youthful energy of soccer, but he doesn’t want to sully the brand’s reputation. An additional
problem is that the Vancouver Sun has heard that Feel Good Foods may become a FIFA sponsor and has
requested an interview as part of an investigative series on corruption in soccer.
TASK: Assume you are an intern at Feel Good Foods. Write a 2,000 word report to Logan Willoughby,
marketing manager of Feel Good Foods, 373 Adelphia St, Vancouver, V5M 1G8 BC. Mr. Willoughby
needs answers to the following questions:
– What exactly are the allegations of corruption against FIFA and do they seem credible?
– Could these claims of malfeasance rub off on TEAM5 and damage Feel Good Foods’ young
– If so, do the risks (partnering with an organization that has serious credibility issues) of a
sponsorship deal with FIFA outweigh the benefits (aligning TEAM5 with a sport that is growing
rapidly in Canada among both boys and girls)?
– What arguments could you offer Mr. Willoughby to help him defend or reject the sponsorship
deal (depending on which conclusion you reach) in his interview with the Vancouver Sun?
The report should have a title page and a bibliography that contains at least eight different references. A
reference refers to source material that has informed your opinion about this topic. An executive summary
and table of contents are not required, but you should include a brief cover letter.
RESEARCH: You are expected to do extensive research for this paper using the news media and
business journals. The following television documentaries from the BBC are your starting point. They
were broadcast in 2010 and 2011, before the most recent allegations of corruption regarding Qatar were
made, but provide essential background for Mr. Willoughby’s concerns.
FIFA’s Dirty Secrets, Part 1 (2010): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6N6rBNODE0
FIFA’s Dirty Secrets, Part 2, (2010): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-HA7HKSD9I
FIFA: Football’s Shame (2011) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm-q75Z1NUs
• The world’s news media will provide you with a rich source of information about FIFA and the
allegations of corruption against it.
• You should use the UBC library’s Business Source Complete database to find articles about
sports marketing, sponsorship, ethics, and the business of sport.
• You may find useful information in the following journals, all of which are available online
through the UBC library:
Sport, Ethics and Philosophy
Sport Management Review
Sport Marketing Quarterly
Soccer & Society
1. Ethics: thinking deeply about ethical decision making (i.e. right vs. wrong) by examining a realworld
2. Research & Reading: looking for, reading and synthesizing diverse source material.
3. The News Media: learning about a topical event by reading/watching/listening to current affairs
reporting and the news.
4. Critical Thinking: making sense of large amounts of source material that often presents
conflicting claims. Forming an opinion through reading and analysis of this conflicting source
material and defending that opinion with reasoned argument.
5. Applied Learning: applying what you’ve learned at Sauder to the real world.
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