Sony Corporation's partnership with soccer's world governing body FIFA is causing a stir in South Africa ahead of the nation's hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The Creative Workers Union of South Africa (Cwusa) is taking issue, claiming the agreement gives Sony Corp division Sony BMG Africa an unfair advantage for showcasing its artists at soccer's leading tournament. The Union claims the music major will have involvement in all music-related activities at the event, which will be staged in South Africa from June 11 to July 11, 2010.

Cwusa's disgruntled general secretary Oupa Lebogo is quoted by today's Johannesburg-based daily newspaper, The Sowetan, as saying, "The way FIFA handled the tender process is very suspicious. The tender was never advertised. Sony BMG and FIFA had an agreement outside South Africa - without consulting local artists."

Sony BMG Africa's managing director, Keith Lister, tells Billboard.biz that Cwusa's claims were misdirected. "There is a global partnership contract between FIFA and Sony Corp and it is for them to comment on any views that anyone may have about their contract," he says.

A spokesperson for the local organizing committee also dismissed Cwusa's claims about the "tender process".

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