Fifa fi­nances ‘ex­tremely solid’, claims In­fantino

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MANAMA: Fifa pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino claimed yes­ter­day that the fi­nances of foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body were “ex­tremely solid“, de­spite post­ing a US$369 mil­lion (RM1.6 bil­lion) loss ear­lier this year.

Speak­ing at the Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion’s congress in Bahrain, In­fantino said the losses were in line with Fifa’s “busi­ness model” and there was no need for it to give “ar­ti­fi­cial” fig­ures.

“In spite of what some have been try­ing to write or to say, Fifa’s fi­nances are ex­tremely solid,” In­fantino told del­e­gates in a short ad­dress.

In­fantino added that it was nor­mal for Fifa to make losses for three years and then “make rev­enue” dur­ing the fourth fi­nan­cial year, when a World Cup takes place.

“That’s how the busi­ness model is con­ducted,” he con­tin­ued.

“We don’t need to tell you other sto­ries, we don’t need to make our fig­ures ar­ti­fi­cial (or) look bet­ter by some ac­count­ing mea­sures. The sit­u­a­tion is that the fi­nances of Fifa are ex­tremely solid.”

Fifa have said pre­vi­ously that their losses could in­crease through­out this year, but re­bound in 2018 to a profit of US$1 bil­lion, largely due to TV deals from the Rus­sian World Cup.

In­fantino was speak­ing a day af­ter Fifa for­mally an­nounced a part­ner­ship deal with Qatar Air­ways for the Gulf car­rier to be their “of­fi­cial air­line” for a host of ma­jor tour­na­ments, in­clud­ing the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Un­der the terms of the deal — un­likely to ap­pease Fifa crit­ics — the Gulf car­rier will also spon­sor the 2017 Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup, the Club World Cup, and the women’s World Cup.

It comes as Fifa strug­gle to find new spon­sors since cor­rup­tion scan­dals which en­gulfed foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body in 2015.

Yes­ter­day’s congress also saw the AFC fi­nally elect mem­bers to the all-pow­er­ful Fifa Coun­cil.

China’s Zhang Jian, South Korea’s Chung Mong Gyu and the Philip­pines’ Mar­i­ano Araneta were all elected un­op­posed.

The third seat was made avail­able af­ter Kuwaiti power­bro­ker Sheikh Ah­mad al-Fa­had alSabah, who is fac­ing cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions in the US, which he de­nies, stood down.

The coun­cil seat re­served for a woman del­e­gate was won by Bangladesh’s Mah­fuza Akhter Kiron, who beat Aus­tralia’s high­pro­file can­di­date Moya Dodd 27 votes to 17. AFP

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