Fifa announce €2.2bn profit from 2014 World Cup

Surplus enables governing body to boost ‘solid level of reserves’ to €1.4bn

If Fifa officials have seemed

unconcerned these past few weeks about the prospect of having to throw cash at the problem of Qatar and the rescheduling of the 2022 World Cup then the reason became clear yesterday as the organisation's accounts for the past year were published.

Like Uefa, the game’s governing body operates on a four-year financial cycle to even out the benefit of its cash cow, the World Cup, and so this is a special year with all of the money from Brazil safely banked and the bills paid up.

The resulting numbers are spectacular with Fifa declaring a profit on the tournament of about €2.2 billion on total revenues of €4.44 billion, almost half of it from broadcasting rights. Marketing chipped in with a healthy €1.45 billion while ticketing contributed €485 million although all of these figures are gross and the organisation suggests at one point that it really only just about broke even on actually letting people come along and pay into the games.


Overall, revenue for the four-year period 2011 to 2014 amounted to €5.38 billion with spending coming in at €4.95 billion. The figures for 2014 alone were €1.93 billion and €1.8 billion respectively.

The World Cup surplus can be seen as providing the backbone of the organisation’s spending for the entire four-year cycle but it was still healthy enough on this occasion to yield a €129.8 million operating profit for the year and €311 million for the four years since South Africa which enabled Fifa to increase its reserves to €1.403 billion, of which almost €1 billion is held in various forms of cash. The authors of the financial report describe this as “a solid level of reserves”.


Others view that as a somewhat downbeat assessment and it is this stockpile that has been targeted by Sepp Blatter’s rivals in the forthcoming presidential election with Luís Figo, for instance, promising to distribute much of it to member associations.

As things stand, the federation is budgeting to give them basic grants of about €250,000 each in 2016 or a total of more than €50 million which may strike some local officials as modest, particularly the ones who are among the leading beneficiaries of the €33 million set aside just to run the annual congress and various committee meetings.

There is mention of “systemic cost controls” at the organisation but wages continue to rise at a rate well in excess of whatever inflation is currently running at. There is no breakdown of how much leading figures such as Blatter are paid but on average the 474 employees in 2014 earned €172,471. That, of course, is before pension contributions and other unspecified benefits which bring the figure up to just about €225,000.

Generous allowances

That’s actually more than the €147,000 members of the executive committee are reported to be paid annually, since agreeing to give up their entitlement to bonuses but they, of course, receive generous daily allowances to cover whatever costs they might somehow manage to incur while at meetings, conferences or tournaments like the World Cup.

It is against this background that Fifa has been negotiating with the European Club Association about the rescheduling of the 2022 tournament and so it was no great surprise yesterday that the clubs were in a position to declare victory, with confirmation coming in the morning that the compensation paid for the participation of players at the next two World Cups would be trebled to almost €200 million on each occasion.

The ECA, though, has made the most of its advantage and has also won important concessions on the negotiation and confirmation of the international match calendar, long a bone of contention between the two strands of the game, as well as an extension and expansion of the club protection programme, essentially a large insurance scheme that provides cover to clubs whose players are international duty.

“For the first time, the European clubs will have a direct say on the international match calendar,” said former Germany international Karl-Heinz Rummenigge who chairs the ECA. “As a result, the ECA will be actively involved and contribute constructively to the design of the calendar, especially for 2022.”

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times