Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, is costing less than his disgraced predecessor, Sepp Blatter, according to a report by the Associated Press (AP).
Infantino apparently earned a salary of US$1.9 million and a bonus of US$550,000 in 2018. In 2017, he earned US$1.61 million without a bonus.
In comparison, Blatter earned a basic salary of US$3 million in 2015 with that topped up by a US$11 million contractual bonus for the 2010 World Cup and US$12 million for the 2014 edition.
Before he was removed from office in 2015, Blatter’s contract also included a US$12 million performance bonus he would have earned had he completed the presidential term that ends this year.
Due to be re-elected unopposed in June for a four-year term, Infantino will be able to point to FIFA’s budget as evidence that it has come through the crisis that engulfed it in 2015 .
As Blatter’s successor in 2016, Infantino has weathered the US-led criminal investigation that saw arrests and later convictions of high-ranking FIFA officials on corruption charges.
Blatter removal as FIFA president over financial misconduct left the governing body’s reputation in tatters and caused a backlash from sponsors.
Now a FIFA financial report, obtained by the AP, shows the cash reserves of world soccer’s governing body have hit a record of US$2.74 billion, with revenue has climbing to US$6.4 billion in the four-year period covering the 2018 World Cup.
The 2015 to 2018 overview reportedly shows FIFA’s financial performance exceeded forecasts to those presented to the FIFA Congress last June.
While FIFA projected cash reserves to increase to US$1.653 billion in the 2018 World Cup cycle, they had apparently grown to US$2.74 billion at the end of 2018.
That figure marks an increase of more than US$1.2 billion on FIFA’s reserves following the 2014 World Cup cycle, which were US$1.523 billion and a revenue increase of more than US$600 million having generated US$5.718 billion after the tournament in Brazil.
Amid the 2015 corruption crisis, FIFA modestly targeted raising US$5 billion by the end of the Russia World Cup, a projection later raised to US$6.1 billion but those expectations have apparently been eclipsed by US$300 million as the four-year cycle ended.
The financial report reportedly shows FIFA made a profit of around US$1 billion, despite FIFA’s failure to fill its slate of sponsors for the 2018 World Cup, with several deciding not to renew after the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
The most recent World Cup cycle has reportedly seen a small increase on around US$1 billion of development project spending than its predecessor but with a greater proportion of those funds committed to member associations, confederations or regions.
Of the US$1.079 billion investment in FIFA’s new Forward development programme US$832 million had been approved and committed to member associations, confederations or regions by the end of last year, up from US$538 million in the 2011 to 2014 cycle, according to the report.
Apparently, between May 2016 and December 2018, 941 specific projects were funded in 179 of the 211 member associations at a cost of US$270.3 million.
FIFA sources told the AP that it rejected 201 of the 1,978 funding applications received in the four-year cycle, with the global soccer body claiming to be far more robust in its attempts to combat corruption.
Even with FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s hopes of securing US$25 billion in guaranteed finances for his expanded Club World Cup and Global Nations League projects stalling in the face of Europan opposition, its updated finances reportedly enable it to raise Forward funds to US$1.746 billion in the 2019 to 2022 cycle.
According to the AP, each member association can apply for up to US$6 million over the next cycle, while each of the six confederations receives US$48 million. In addition, US$62 million is available for zonal or regional associations if they organise at least five youth and women’s competitions per year.