ZURICH: World football federation FIFA can no measure the depth of its crisis in terms which its leaders may at last understand – money.
The corruption crisis assailing FIFA crisis has contributed to projected losses over the past year of SFr 103m (£67m); this would be more than three times the budgeted deficit of $30 million after depreciation and taxes.
This has derived from a loss in income after the loss of two sponsors ad inability to replace them while the organisation remained mired in controversy. This is the first loss since the crisis year of 2001 when commercial partner ISL collapsed into bankruptcy.
FIFA has been unable to replace top tier partners Emirates and Sony as well as second tier sponsors Castrol, Continental and Johnson & Johnson. Three multinationals are believed ready to sign up but they want to see guarantees of governance change and transparency first.
Confirmation of the deficit adds to the tension surrouding the exco s it meets to decide which reform proposals it can put to an extraordinary congress next February 26.
FIFA’s income always drops in the year after World Cups but it has always previously managed to make a surplus – in 2011 it made a £24m profit which was added to its reserves which currently total around £1bn.
The legal bills are also significant – suspended president Sepp Blatter brought in a team of American lawyers after the US justice department announced its indictments of 18 officials on football-related corruption charges in May.
The proposed reforms to be voted on at FIFA’s ExCo meeting on Thursday include 12-year term limits for the president and exco members, financial transparency including remuneration packages of all senior officials plus independent members for the exco.
Belgian veteran exco member Michel D’Hooghe said: “Do not think that FIFA is dead. I have the assurance that if FIFA and the Congress can accept the reforms then FIFA has a good future. But we must accept that this is a deep crisis.
“It’s a difficult moment financially but the expectations are good I’m sure in the longer term FIFA will overcome that.”