Revenue on track, reserves down in FIFA virus-era accounts

·3 min read

GENEVA — FIFA expects to hit its four-year revenue target of $6.44 billion up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Total spending of $1.04 billion in 2020 included $270 million in grants to soccer bodies worldwide as part of a COVID-19 relief plan, FIFA’s annual financial report said on Friday.

It also included a $10 million donation to the World Health Organization.

FIFA again awarded its president Gianni Infantino a $1 million annual bonus to raise his overall pre-tax pay above $3 million in 2020, matching his 2019 income.

The pandemic relief payments helped reduce FIFA’s reserves by $705 million in 2020. They stood at almost $1.9 billion by the end of the year.

FIFA gets most of its money from the four-yearly men’s World Cup, and said on Friday it already sealed 92% of its income target from broadcasting rights.

Contracted income from all sources to the end of 2020 was more than $5.1 billion, or 80% of revenue budgeted for the 2019-2022 financial period, according to the FIFA document.

Fewer sponsor slots for the 2022 World Cup have been sold compared to the same stage before previous editions of the tournament.

After a near-total shutdown of soccer worldwide last year, FIFA advanced money due to its 211 national member federations and the six continental governing bodies.

Hundreds of millions of dollars more was made available in grants and loans for specific projects.

FIFA made savings by the forced cancellations of youth tournaments, its annual congress scheduled in Ethiopia, and the annual awards ceremony in Milan.

“Travel was reduced to the bare minimum, and a large-scale switch to online meetings and training produced significant cost savings,” the FIFA financial report said.

Administration and governance spending of $169 million was $42 million less than the planned budget for 2020.

The FIFA document showed Infantino got a base salary of 1.95 million Swiss francs, ($2.1 million) plus a bonus of just over 1 million Swiss francs ($1.08 million).

The package totalled 3 million Swiss francs ($3.2 million) — the same as in 2019 — when some allowances were added.

FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura got a 50,000 Swiss francs ($54,000) raise in her bonus from 2019 for a pre-tax package of more than 1.6 million Swiss francs ($1.72 million).

The six continental presidents who sit on FIFA's ruling council each received a net income of $300,000, plus some expenses. Other council members each got $250,000 after tax.

The highest paid committee members were audit and compliance chairman Tomaž Vesel and chief ethics investigator Maria Claudia Rojas, who each got $246,000. Vesel also chairs the compensation panel which oversees pay for senior management.

FIFA is one of the most transparent international sports bodies in publishing what it pays senior officials.

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Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press