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Backers are crucial for Fifa, with losses to mount

Fifa’s quest for new sponsors is becoming increasingly desperate after the world body posted a loss of US$369 million before tax last year and admitted worse is to come.

Fifa’s quest for new sponsors is becoming increasingly desperate after the world body posted a loss of US$369 million before tax last year and admitted worse is to come.

Under the new president Gianni Infantino, football’s world governing body Fifa has budgeted for a loss of $489m this year after committing to a major increase in money distributed to its members.

“We need to ensure that every bit of revenue is well invested in the game,” said Mr Infantino on announcing the results, which showed that Fifa’s spending on development and education leapt to $428m last year from $186m.

Income from marketing rights fell to $115m last year from $157m and the cost of money spent on investigations into the governance scandals that threatened to swamp Fifa rose to $50m from $20m in the same period. As part of his election bid, Mr Infantino also pledged to significantly raise the amount paid to the national associations that voted in the election. Fifa’s 211 members got $1.6m every four years through the Financial Assistance Programme but Mr Infantino pledged to push that figure up to $5m.

At the time, one of his election rivals, the former Fifa executive Jerome Champagne, warned that this extra spending could send the world body spiralling to an annual loss of $1.5 billion.

To help cover the rise in development cash, Mr Infantino subsequently pushed through plans to expand the World Cup to 48 countries in 2026.

The World Cup is Fifa’s single biggest earner but the world football governing body will need more sponsorship if Mr Infantino’s prediction of a $100m surplus in 2018 is to be realised.

business@thenational.ae

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Updated: April 17, 2017 04:00 AM

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