How Nike became involved in the biggest football scandal

20 years ago, the company wanted to enter the Brazilian market without knowing how to do business there.
Once in the US World Cup in 1994, Nike management, eager to become part of the most popular sports in the world, firmly decided to cooperate with the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF). In 1996, the company signed with her 10-year sponsorship agreement, the total amount of which was $ 200 million, and made it clear Adidas, has long worked with the football federations that she has a real competitor in football.

But as a result of 20 years later, Nike was involved in a major international investigation, which the US government carried out on corruption in FIFA.

Stressing the importance of the contract with the CBF, it signed a co-founder of Nike, Philip Knight, President Tom Clark, in charge of the football business Sandy Bodeker and director of football marketing Kees van Nieuwenhuizen, according to the contract, which has been translated into Portuguese and is contained in the investigation file that the Brazilian parliament held in 2001. But, as told to the people engaged in marketing, then football, of Nike entered the Brazilian market, with little idea of ​​how to do business there.

Nike The contract was written that moneyand she will pay the CBF directly, without intermediaries. But, as said in a public statement last week, prosecutors claim the Eastern District of New York, "the transnational manufacturer of sports clothing from the United States" under the terms of another agreement has transferred $ 30 million intermediary, part of which he spent on bribes. American Company in the lawsuit does not mention, as neither it nor any of its executives have been indicted. But people familiar with the situation confirmed that this is Nike (in the lawsuit, it also appears as a "company producing sportswear A").

The company said that cooperating with the authorities, but refused to give Clark comments, Knight and Bodekera. Contact Van Nyuenhayzenom failed. But in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in 1997, Knight made it clear that, entering the world of professional football, the company faced with the unknown things. "We were a little surprised football politics and the way things are in this world, - he said. - In a sense, this is the most politicized of all sports. "

According to Steve Miller, who worked in the 1990s. in the department of sport Marketinga of Nike, the company entered the Brazilian market "blindly", without having enough people there. "We had no serious business in Brazil, was not responsible for this market", - he says.

To make a deal in Brazil, Nike had to go to an intermediary company Traffic Brazil, which is engaged in marketing of CBF. The name of its owner, Jose Avila also stated in the contract, and he admitted US prosecutors in money laundering, fraud, extortion and other crimes. And in his recognition that sheds further light on the situation, covertly referred to and deal with Nike. On behalf of the CBF Ricardo Teixeira led the negotiations. His name is also in the contract, but not mentioned in the lawsuit. It only says that the negotiations conducted by the confederation "accomplice number 11". Teixeira Location unknown.

The representative of the CBF, Avila and four representatives of the company met in New York to sign a contract in which she had to pay $ 160 million over 10 years. The contract says that Nike should not have to pay any compensation the Traffic, it will make all payments to CBF.

But the contract did not mention other financial liabilities indicate US prosecutors claim: so, of Nike has agreed to transfer to the Traffic branch of a Swiss bank account has $ 40 million in compensation. Three days after the main representative of the contract he signed with Nike Traffic agreement, consisting of a single page. According to the terms of CBF gave the right to directly expose Traffic Nike account. Over the next three years, the Brazilian company thus received from the US $ 30 million, part of which went to bribes and kickbacks, according to the investigation.

Miller, who left Nike to turn of the century, I am sure that the company has not done anything illegal then.

That contract is now helping Nike to make a football around $ 2.3 billion - almost as much as and Adidas. In 1996, Nike has sponsored only five national teams, the Brazilian World Championship in 2014 advocated the highest number of teams in its form - 10, whereas in the form of Adidas - 9. Nike agreement with CBF was a turning point, says Sonny Vaccaro, who worked for both companies. "That was the last time when the world Accezhal Adidas », - he says.
Team sponsor Nike in the 1998 and 2014 FIFA World Cup years.