US probes Nike payments under Brazil soccer deal

US officials extend probes into football misconduct, Brazil sponsor Nike under scrutiny

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

US authorities are examining payments made by Nike Inc under a 1996 soccer sponsorship deal with Brazil for possible evidence of any wrongdoing by the company or others, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said allegations of corruption around Nike's $160 million agreement to sponsor Brazil's national team are discussed in barely veiled terms in the Justice Department's indictment of officials in soccer's governing body, FIFA.

The indictment describes a multinational US sportswear company that struck a deal to sponsor the Brazilian federation, and then cut a side deal with a sports-marketing middleman, who allegedly used payments from the company for bribes and kickbacks, the Journal reported, adding that the people familiar with the matter confirmed the company is Nike.