FIFA making billions of dollars, reach record cash reserves

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FIFA's cash reserves have soared to a record $3.88 billion and revenue climbed to $9.1 billion in the four-year period covering the 2018 World Cup, The Associated Press has learned.

The robust financial results suggest FIFA has weathered the deepest crisis in its history, which erupted in 2015 when a United States-led criminal investigation led to the arrests and later convictions of high-ranking officials on corruption charges.

Sepp Blatter was deposed as FIFA president in a financial misconduct case that left the governing body's reputation in tatters and caused a backlash from sponsors.

After being elected as Blatter's successor in 2016, Gianni Infantino said that "FIFA was clinically dead as an organisation."

Although Infantino's leadership has come under criticism from within European governing body UEFA, he will be able to show the budget is in a healthy state, and he is due to be re-elected unopposed in June for a four-year term.

The 2015-18 finances obtained by the AP exceed the forecasts presented to the FIFA Congress last June.

While FIFA projected cash reserves to increase to $2.34b in the 2018 World Cup cycle, they had grown to $3.9b at the end of 2018, according to people with knowledge of the finances.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the financial results remain confidential.

FIFA's reserves at the end of the 2014 World Cup cycle were $2.18b after generating $8.12b after the tournament in Brazil.

Amid the corruption crisis of 2015, FIFA modestly targeted raising $7.11b by the end of the Russia World Cup, a projection later raised to $8.67b.

Those expectations were eclipsed when the four-year cycle ended with revenues of $9.1b, according to the people with knowledge of the financial report, which shows profit of around $1.42b.

The record revenue was achieved despite FIFA not filling its full slate of sponsors for the 2018 World Cup. Several sponsors did not renew after the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, an opponent of Infantino in the 2016 vote, had warned Infantino's plan to increase payouts to member associations would "bankrupt" FIFA, but that has not transpired.

Source AAP