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Nike says Fifa indictment does not allege criminal conduct by company

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Nike Inc said on Thursday that charging documents regarding the Fifa bribery scandal do not allege the company is engaged in criminal conduct.

[NEW YORK] Nike Inc said on Thursday that charging documents regarding the Fifa bribery scandal do not allege the company is engaged in criminal conduct.

US authorities said on Wednesday nine soccer officials and five sports media and promotions executives faced corruption charges involving more than US$150 million in bribes. Swiss police arrested seven Fifa officials who are now awaiting extradition to the United States.

The criminal indictment also mentioned an unnamed sports company that appeared to be Nike. "The charging documents unsealed yesterday in Brooklyn do not allege that Nike engaged in criminal conduct," Nike said in a statement. "There is no allegation in the charging documents that any Nike employee was aware of or knowingly participated in any bribery or kickback scheme," the company said.

Nike, which is not a Fifa partner but is challenging Adidas'dominance in soccer by sponsoring many of the world's top players and teams, had earlier said it was cooperating with authorities.

Sponsors such as Visa Inc expressed concern over the FIFA scandal after customers attacked them on social media, threatening to boycott the brands associated with the game.

Visa told Fifa that it could end its sponsorship if soccer's governing body does not restore the reputation of the game.

Nike stopped sponsoring American cyclist Lance Armstrong in 2012 after he was banned for doping.

REUTERS