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    FIFA reserves at USD4B after World Cup; more to come in 2026

    GENEVA (AP) – FIFA had reserves of almost USD4 billion after a financially successful 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and booming hospitality and ticket sales at the 2026 tournament in North America are expected to add billions to the income of soccer’s international governing body.

    FIFA detailed “exceptionally robust” finances in its 2022 annual report on Tuesday that saw the annual bonus of President Gianni Infantino rise by CHF620,000 (USD673,000).

    His pre-tax base salary and bonus package totalled CHF3.6 million (USD3.9 million) plus more FIFA-paid expenses and benefits.

    At the World Cup in November, FIFA announced record revenue of almost USD7.6 billion for the four-year commercial cycle through 2022 that is mostly earned by the men’s World Cup.

    FIFA said its reserves stood at USD3.97 billion at year’s end compared with USD1.6 billion through 2021.

    File photo shows FIFA President Gianni Infantino attending the FIFA Club World Cup final match between Spain’s Real Madrid and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat. PHOTO: AFP

    “FIFA’s financial position remains exceptionally robust and sustainable with a substantial cash base and sufficient reserves,” football’s world body said in the report. The USD11 billion income conservatively forecast in December for the next four years is fuelled by using mostly NFL stadiums for an expanded 48-team World Cup in 2026 that will be co-hosted by the United States (US), Canada and Mexico.

    Using home stadiums of the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams and the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs plus other NFL venues has driven FIFA’s expected revenue of USD3.1 billion in hospitality and ticket sales across the next four years.

    FIFA said it got a combined USD929 million in Qatar from ticket sales for the 64 games and a hospitality programme that was sold in 2011 – for a rights fee and profit share adding up to USD243 million – to long-time World Cup partner MATCH.

    “Hospitality sales (will be) largely driven by the strategic model in operation, which has moved away from the rights fee model, under which FIFA’s hospitality services were outsourced,” FIFA said in the annual report.

    Operational costs of USD638 million are foreseen for the 2026 hospitality programme.

    The 2026 World Cup is expected to far exceed the tournament record attendance of nearly 3.6 million set at the US-hosted 1994 edition, which included 52 games in a 24-team format.

    With 48 teams in North America in 2026, FIFA previously agreed an 80-game schedule but Infantino said in Qatar that decision will be reviewed. A format of 104 games is possible. FIFA also forecast big increases in broadcast rights and sponsorships sales through 2026.

    Pointing to “North American time zones offering favourable coverage across the globe… plus an expanded match schedule”, FIFA forecast total broadcast revenue of USD4.26 billion through 2026, rising by nearly USD1 billion from the 2019-22 period.

    That new total is equal to one year of TV and sponsor money for Europe’s Champions League.

    Marketing revenue is set to rise from USD1.8 billion to almost USD2.7 billion, though only a few deals such as Coca-Cola and Adidas currently extend beyond the Qatar tournament.

    FIFA said its USD11 billion total revenue estimate did not include the Club World Cup that is set to re-launch in 2025 with a 32-team tournament. Infantino previously valued that event at USD3 billion per edition.

    Spending is also set to rise sharply through 2026, with FIFA again conservatively budgeting for a USD100 million profit over four years. FIFA’s projected costs are USD3.84 billion for the 2026 World Cup and USD435 million on the Women’s World Cup that starts in July in Australia and New Zealand.

    Spending on the 2026 men’s event includes a total of USD896 million on prize money for the 48 teams plus payments to clubs for releasing their players to national-team duty.

    Clubs worldwide received a total of USD209 million from the 2022 World Cup, calculated at a daily rate per player. FIFA also will pay USD2.25 billion in development funds across its 211 member federations – which get at least USD2 million per year – the six continental confederations and regional football bodies.

    A further USD660 million is available in a Football Development Fund to nurture the game “in all its forms and at all levels”, the report said.

    Committing to spend tens of millions on communications such as websites and phone apps, FIFA said it had “lived up to its role as the main source of information for football lovers everywhere”.

    Spending of USD367 million on governance and administration personnel is expected over the next four years. Some staff, in areas such as marketing and legal departments, are expected to work in North America rather than FIFA’s home city Zurich.

    FIFA said its CEO-like secretary general Fatma Samoura got a salary and bonus package of CHF1.9 million (USD2.06 million) last year, including a bonus that doubled to CHF600,000 (USD650,000).

    With so much cash at hand, FIFA makes short-term loans to Swiss public authorities through an online platform matching investors to borrowers. Those third-party loans amounted to USD737 million on December 31, FIFA said.

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