A pathway To FIFA’s Financial Ruin


FIFA presidential candidate Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa has delivered a hard hitting rebuke to the financial proposals of some of his rivals saying that their campaign promises could never be delivered out of current FIFA funds and that if they tried to, they would bankrupt the world governing body over the next four-year cycle.

Salman points out that “FIFA’s financial status has very substantially declined over the last year alone: we are faced with a deficit of presently unknown proportions if we don’t turn this ship around”.

FIFA has already reported a $100 million loss and Salman says that if spending under a new president followed some of the proposals, then by 2018 FIFA would have no reserves left.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino in particularly has made some huge financial promises while touring the Caribbean recently.

“These are the figures that FIFA published in their last annual report: Income and expenses for the 2011-2014 period generated a result of $338 million. Had we already adopted the proposed extreme new expenditure (a campaign promise by some), we would be in substantial negative territory already today – if we include the $100m loss FIFA generated last year alone,” said Salman.

“This is the dire reality: by 2018, FIFA will have zero reserves left if today’s status quo remains unchanged, and if there continues to be a substantial lack of income from tv and marketing rights sales.

“Fact is that we are looking at a massive loss: the new proposals by some candidates would increase expenses by over $1 billion over four years; add to that accrued annual losses in the tens of millions, which translate into hundreds of millions over a four-year period.”

And as if there was any doubt as to the gravity of his message, he says: “No serious person with a minimum of financial knowledge can nor should disregard these facts.”

Salman is the only candidate in the FIFA election race who is not promising federations millions of dollars but has committed to focus his attention on smaller nations and their specific needs. He says this is the responsible way to spend available resources.

But he also says that there has to be a total change in the way the governing body markets its properties and that new revenue streams must be added through this process. He says that there are under-exploited categories of sponsorship that must be developed and this is where energy must be focussed.

“My plan is not to bankrupt FIFA but to restructure and revitalise it…First and foremost we must maximise our broadcasting income and fill the gaps where sponsorship is lacking. In other worlds we must face the music that was composed by the last few years of mayhem and catastrophe.”

The message is clear. FIFA is in a crisis situation not only in terms of its credibility but also commercially. That will also translate into a severe financial crisis (if it isn’t already forming) unless there is a commonsense approach.

“Nobody can honestly claim that if he is elected President, the sponsorship and broadcasting rights money will automatically start flowing again. We first need to repair the damages caused by past conduct before we become a viable and desirable partner to large corporations anywhere.”

Abideen Owolabi

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