Some of soccer's biggest sponsors have been quick to show their dismay at the corruption allegations against high-ranking FIFA officials. But the finer details of the indictment appear to implicate one U.S. household name in particular.
The 161-page document released by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) claims that a multinational sportswear company headquartered in the U.S. was involved in "bribes and kickbacks" which were used to sign a sponsorship deal with the Brazilian national soccer federation in 1996.
It doesn't name the company, just calling it sportswear company A, but Nike's own website states that the sports brand signed an apparel licensing deal with Brazil's soccer team that year. The indictment highlights that the sportswear company made payments to a sports marketing firm. The DOJ does not suggest that these payments were illegal but claims the marketing firm then used them as bribes for FIFA officials.
Nike told CNBC via email that the implications spotlighted in the indictment do not allege that Nike engaged in criminal conduct. "There is no allegation in the charging documents that any Nike employee was aware of or knowingly participated in any bribery or kickback scheme," a spokesperson said.
"Nike believes in ethical and fair play in both business and sport and strongly opposes any form of manipulation or bribery. We have been cooperating, and will continue to cooperate, with the authorities," the spokesperson added. Shares of Nike dipped slightly Wednesday and Thursday.
The arrests of seven FIFA officials on Wednesday morning marked the opening of two separate investigations into alleged corruption at world soccer's governing body. U.S. authorities are focusing on alleged wrongdoing that spans the last 24 years while Swiss regulators are directing their efforts on the bidding processes of the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar.
The DOJ claims that vast sums of money changed hands in the U.S. between sports marketing firms and FIFA officials from its regional branch called CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football). In the indictment, it names several Wall Street banks that were allegedly used to funnel money between different parties although they are not accused of any wrongdoing.
Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and HSBC are named in the document as well as UBS, Bank of America, Espirito Santo Bank and Julius Baer. A spokesperson for Citi told CNBC on Thursday morning that the bank has been "cooperating with the Justice Department during their investigation" while JPMorgan and HSBC declined to comment.
FIFA has expressed its relief at the two investigation, trying to put a positive spin on what is undoubtedly a very difficult time for the organization. Presidential elections are still scheduled to go ahead this week despite the scandal and there are also no plans to change the host nations for the next two tournaments.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who was not charged, said Thursday " it is necessary to begin to restore trust in our organization."
Life for FIFA is seemingly going on as planned but further tremors could be just around the corner. There are calls for European teams to boycott the next World Cup, and major sponsors could start to feel uneasy with the amount of money they are paying to be affiliated with FIFA with the reputational damage that has just been unearthed.
There are currently five major partners for soccer's governing body, according to its website. Hyundai Motors told CNBC via email that is was "extremely concerned about the legal proceedings being taken against certain FIFA executives and will continue to monitor the situation closely."
Adidas said it was fully committed to creating a culture that promotes the highest standards of ethics and compliance and urged FIFA to do likewise. Credit card processing company Visa said it was disappointed and concerned with FIFA in light of the developments.
"It is important that FIFA makes changes now, so that the focus remain on these going forward. Should FIFA fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship," the company said in a statement Wednesday.
Kevin Adler, chief engagement officer at Engage Marketing, told CNBC Thursday that he expected the sponsors to stay the course and urged them to keep track of any potential consumer backlash.
"They are taking a more listen and learn approach than a reactive run-for-cover approach right now," he said. "It's not a sell, it's not a buy, it's a hold," he said.
—CNBC's Seamus Conwell contributed to this article.