Richard Cramer comments to the Insider – Morrisons FIFA attack set for red card

Morrisons' decision to seek £1m from FIFA for snubbing the England 2018 bid in an "unfair process" is highly unlikely to succeed, according to Richard Cramer, partner at Leeds-based sports law firm FrontRow Legal. Cramer told Insider Morrisons' "tongue in cheek" request was good promotion for the supermarket, but the chance of a refund was as likely as bottom-placed West Ham United winning the Premier League.

News broke earlier this week that Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips had written to FIFA president Sepp Blatter expressing disappointment that the decision to go for Russia appeared to be pre-ordained.

Morrisons had sponsored the England bid and Philips argued its investment, "made in good faith", had been wasted "in an unfair process". The supermarket sought £1m from FIFA towards its sponsorship costs, which it said would be reinvested in grassroots football across the UK.

However, Cramer was sceptical whether the supermarket's £1m demand would succeed. "Whilst Morrisons have to be admired for what can only be described as a tongue in cheek request for reimbursement of £1m sponsorship, it is highly unlikely there would be a full sustainable action against FIFA," he said.

"This is a good promotion for Morrisons because what it is trying to do is recover £1m and then forward the same to the FA to reinvest into grass roots football. It is based on the moral argument as opposed to a contractual claim against FIFA."

Cramer, whose firm provides advice on sports and media law, added that any action Morrisons had for breach of contract probably lay with the agreement it had with the FA rather than FIFA. He said: "Given the process adopted by FIFA with regard to the World Cup 2018 bid, there is as much chance of West Ham United winning the Premier League this season as there is in FIFA refunding £1m."

Published December 15, 2010

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