FIFA Infantino
Steffen Schmidt / Insidefoto

FIFA president Gianni Infantino stated the finances of football’s governing body are extremely solid, despite posting a $369M USD loss earlier this year.

FIFA is holding its latest annual congress – the 67th in its history – at the Asian Football Confederation in Bahrain.

There are several items on the agenda, the most notable of which are:

  • Activity Report 2016
  • FIFA World Cup
  • Finance and governance
  • Consolidated financial statements for 2016
  • Auditors’ report to the Congress
  • Report by the chairman of the FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee
  • Detailed budget for 2018
  • 2026 FIFA World Cup (proposed by the Canadian Soccer Association, the Mexican Football Association and the United States Soccer Federation)
  • Request to lift suspension to play international matches in Iraq (proposed by the Iraqi Football Association)
  • Request for official recognition of the Palestinian Football Association’s entitlements to all of its rights as described in the FIFA Statutes (proposed by the Palestinian Football Association)
  • Compensation of FIFA Council members and presidents of member associations (proposed by the Rwandan Football Association)

With regards to finances, Infantino gave a very brief comment about the loss and was not too concerned about it.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino:

“In spite of what some have been trying to write or to say, FIFA’s finances are extremely solid. It is normal for FIFA to make losses for three years and then make revenue during the fourth financial year, when a World Cup takes place. That’s how the business model is conducted.

“We don’t need to tell you other stories, we don’t need to make our figures artificial (or) look better by some accounting measures. The situation is that the finances of FIFA are extremely solid.”

The expectation is that corporate sponsors will fill the coffers once next year’s World Cup in Russia takes place, especially regional ones. Global sponsors may be hesitant to associate with FIFA as the governing body is still recovering from the scandal that rocked the football world in 2015. The scandal has had a significant financial impact, particularly with the high legal costs associated with the corruption scandal and the requirement to have an extraordinary council reunion.

Johnson & Johnson, Sony, Castrol, Contintental Tyres and Emirates have declined to renew their contracts with FIFA.

Qatar Airways has filled the void left by Emirates, signing a deal yesterday to become the official airline of FIFA until 2022.