Fifa increase World Cup prize fund by 12 per cent

Tickets for Ireland playoff games go for multiple of face value on ‘secondary’ websites

Fifa has confirmed a 12 per cent increase in the prize money for next summer's World Cup with the FAI standing to gain a minimum of around €7 million if Martin O'Neill and his players can beat Denmark over the two legs of their World Cup playoff.

The total prize fund for the competition in Russia next summer will be $400m (€344m) up from $358m three years ago, it was confirmed after a Fifa Council meeting in Kolkata, India yesterday.

When the breakdown of the prize fund was subsequently revealed it emerged that the sums paid to the 16 sides eliminated at the group stages as well as the funding provided to cover costs and help with preparations will both be unchanged at $8m and $1.5m respectively although the corresponding euro amounts will be up by around 17 per cent since 2014 due to changes in the exchange rates.

Prize money for making the knock out stages will be substantially up, most obviously for those teams losing in the round of 16.


Three years ago, making it out of the group stage but then losing was worth only an additional $1 m to a national association but this time the corresponding figure will be $4m (€3.4m). The combined total would be roughly equivalent to the figure the FAI received after Ireland lost to France in the second round of Euro2016.

The rest of the prizes for next year’s tournament are all up by either $2m or $3m with the winners set to receive $38m (€32.8m) up from $35m and the runners-up $28m (€24.2m) up from $25m.

Fifa also spends substantial sums on player insurance and compensation to the clubs whose players participate in the event. League of Ireland sides generally miss out on these payments as they tend to be only represented very minimally if at all, even in the qualifying stage of the tournament.

The game’s governing body has also announced new structures for the bid process for the 2026 World Cup after the processes for 2018 and 2022 were repeatedly hit by allegations of bribery and corruption. A new “bid evaluation task force” has been established and this will include the chairs of both the audit and compliance committee and the governance committee as well as a number of other senior officials.

The move is clearly intended to prevent elected officers profiting from the selection procedure as had repeatedly happened in the past although there has been some controversy as to whether Fifa president Gianni Infantino has exerted inappropriate levels of influence over the make-up of committees that were clearly intended to be independent when they were established.

The bidding process for the 2026 World Cup, which will be the first to involve 48 teams, has already been delayed because of the various scandals to hit Fifa over the past couple of years. Morocco has bid to host the event but a joint bid between Canada, Mexico and the United States is widely expected to be successful.

Sold out

The FAI has, meanwhile, insisted that it has a "zero tolerance policy" towards touting and warned the supporters who buy tickets for the forthcoming World Cup play-off games through "secondary ticketing" websites like Viagogo risk not being admitted to the game next month.

Viagogo was yesterday advertising tickets for both legs of the playoff with the company claiming to have around 150 tickets available for each game.

For the one in Dublin, on November 14th, the prices being asked range from just over €150 to €536, a multiple of the face value.

Tickets for the away leg in Copenhagen appeared to range in price from €140 to around €350. In both instances additional charges – delivery and booking fees as well as VAT – are added to the purchase price quoted.

Tickets for the home game sold out within minutes when the association made them available last week and there was widespread frustration and some anger that the only seats available when the general sale started were at premium level and priced at €120. The Copenhagen match sold out yesterday morning in just under two hours.

Viagogo and some other secondary sites have been quick to cash in on the demand but association officials say that where the specific seats being sold on these sites can be identified the tickets will be cancelled and those purchasing them will not get into the ground.

It is unclear how effectively this system might work in practice but a spokesman for the association insisted such action has been taken before and remains a distinct possibility on this occasion.

“What the sites are doing is not illegal at the moment but the association does try to stop it,” he said. “We have a zero tolerance policy and we actively pursue the issue wherever it arises. We would warn people considering buying tickets from sites like this that there is the possibility that they will turn up on the night and be refused admission.”

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times