Gianni Infantino confirms Fifa will not directly pay bonuses to players but to associations

All 736 players are expected to be played a minimum of €28k for taking part in the tournament

In June, Fifa “guaranteed” all 736 players competing at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand a direct payment of €28,000. This guarantee has now become a “recommendation”, according to Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

The global governing body announced record revenue of $7.5 billion between 2018 and 2022 from commercial deals alone. Last year, Infantino was paid €3.6 million.

Each player on the winners’ podium come August 20th were expecting to pocket €250,000 from the overall prize fund of $110 million. The men’s World Cup prize money was $440 million.

But there is a catch.


On Wednesday morning in Auckland, Infantino revealed that each of the 32 governing bodies will receive payment from the total pot. Not the players. And it is up to these federations to distribute the money to individual players.

“We have issued recommendations but we are an association of associations,” said Infantino. “So whatever payments we do will be through the associations, and then the associations will make the relevant payments to their own players.

“But we are in touch with all the associations, and there are all different situations in different parts of the world. Taxation, residence and so on. This requires special agreements for some associations with the players from before, of course.

“So, I think we have been taking some groundbreaking decisions and it’s far from the end of the story.”

Katie McCabe’s Irish squad are on firm footing with the Football Association of Ireland – so their €28,000 minimum is expected to be paid – but England, Jamaica, Nigeria and Canada, among other teams, are in active disputes over bonuses and other payment from their associations.

Infantino says that Fifa will monitor each situation. How this will be done remains unclear. The devil, as usual, is in the lack of detail.

Fifa also intends to “break even” for the tournament.

“More than auditing or monitoring, it’s about engaging,” added the 53-year-old. “We engage with the associations around the world because, I joke sometimes, that we cannot artificially print the money.

“If we could, that would be nice, but at the end we can distribute, we can pay what we generate. So it’s impossible to ask them to do more if they generate less, right?

“Today is the eve of the opening game of the women’s World Cup and for me it’s a moment to focus on the positive, focus on the happiness, focus on the joy.

“Until the 20th of August you will hear from me only positive things about everything and everyone. If somebody’s still not happy about something, well, I’m so sorry. I am happy with everything and I love everyone.”

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent