FIFA sponsors Coca-Cola and McDonald's have called on Sepp Blatter to immediately stand down as president of world football's governing body, FIFA.
The intervention from Coca-Cola, which was quickly followed by a similar statement from McDonald's, comes a week after the FIFA president was placed under criminal investigation by the Swiss authorities.
Coca-Cola says it is "calling for FIFA President Joseph [Sepp] Blatter to step down immediately so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest".
The company added: "Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish. FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach."
McDonald's said in a statement that "the events of recent weeks have continued to diminish the reputation of FIFA and public confidence in its leadership".
Blatter won't budge
However, Blatter’s lawyer promptly issued a statement saying that the FIFA president would not resign.
"While Coca-Cola is a valued sponsor of FIFA, Mr Blatter respectfully disagrees with its position... he will not resign," Blatter's New York attorney Richard Cullen said in a statement.
The intervention from the two key FIFA sponsors follows Blatter being placed under criminal investigation by Swiss authorities for alleged financial wrongdoing at FIFA last week. Blatter is accused of "criminal mismanagement" or "misappropriation" over a TV rights deal he signed with former Caribbean football chief Jack Warner in 2005. He is also accused of making an improper payment of £1.3 million to Uefa chief Michel Platini.
The 79-year-old Swiss citizen told FIFA staff earlier this week that he's determined to remain in power until February's emergency presidential election, but pressure from sponsors who fund the organization could force him out before then.
Image in tatters
FIFA’s image is in tatters as it has also seen 14 current or former officials as well as sports marketing executives accused by US prosecutors of taking part in a kickbacks scheme going back 20 years and involving a total of $150 million in bribes.
Potential contenders to replace Blatter as president include UEFA President Michel Platini, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, former Brazil great Zico and Liberia football federation president Musa Bility.
Blatter's position appears untenable, as lawyers now oversee key decisions at scandal-battered FIFA.