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FIFA gives president Infantino 33% raise in pay deal worth $4.6 million in Women’s World Cup year

GENEVA (AP) — FIFA raised president Gianni Infantino’s base salary 33% last year to lift his total pay package to more than 4.13 million Swiss francs ($4.67 million), soccer’s governing body said in its financial report.

Infantino was re-elected unopposed in 2023 to extend his presidency to 11 years before FIFA staged the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and picked preferred candidates to host two future men’s World Cups, including the 2034 edition in Saudi Arabia.

Infantino’s pre-tax base salary payment rose by more than 500,000 Swiss francs ($565,000) last year to reach more than 2.46 million Swiss francs ($2.78 million). His annual bonus was 1.65 million Swiss francs ($1.87 million), the same as in 2022 when the men’s World Cup was played in Qatar.

The previous FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, had a contracted bonus of $12 million for the 2014 World Cup on top of a $3 million basic salary and annual bonuses.

Infantino had a home in Qatar to oversee preparations for the 2022 tournament and now spends time in Florida, where FIFA has offices at Coral Gables, ahead of the United States co-hosting the next men’s World Cup with Canada and Mexico. Florida does not have a state income tax.

FIFA has budgeted for total revenue of $11 billion in the four-year financial cycle from 2023 through 2026 with Saudi sponsors including state oil firm Aramco expected to join longtime partners Coca-Cola, Adidas and Visa. The 2026 World Cup will be the first with 48 teams and include 104 games.

FIFA’s typically conservative projection did not include income for the 32-team men’s Club World Cup that launches next year in the U.S.

FIFA paid its CEO-like secretary general Fatma Samoura the same 1.9 million Swiss francs ($2.15 million) package in her final year in the job as in 2022. She got a salary of 1.3 million Swiss francs ($1.47 million) and 600,000 Swiss francs ($670,000) bonus before leaving in December.

Infantino has operated as an executive leader despite recommendations by a reforms panel — of which he was a member — created after corruption scandals in 2015 that the FIFA president should have a more figurehead role. That reform group also insisted on publishing details of management pay.

FIFA pay is set up by a compensation panel chaired by Mukul Mudgal, a retired judge from India who oversees governance and compliance at the soccer body, for which he was paid $250,000 last year.

Payments to the 37-member FIFA Council stayed the same. The six vice presidents who lead continental soccer bodies got a net amount of $300,000 plus expenses. Other members got $250,000 plus expenses annually.

The president of European soccer body UEFA, Aleksander Čeferin, also was paid a gross salary without bonus of almost 2.9 million Swiss francs ($3.26 million), according to its financial report published last month.

In comparison, chief executive Richard Masters of the English Premier League, the most lucrative domestic soccer competition, had a salary of 1.8 million pounds ($2.3 million) in 2022.

Most of FIFA’s commercial income is tied to the men’s World Cup and will be booked in the accounts for 2026.

In 2023, the Women’s World Cup year, FIFA said it had revenue of $1.17 billion with $456 million from marketing deals and $267 million from broadcasting. Ticket and hospitality sales for the 32-team, 64-game women’s tournament were $43 million.

FIFA said it spent and invested almost $1.75 billion in 2023, with $499 million going toward the Women’s World Cup. Payments to participating teams, players and their clubs who released them rose to $152 million.

FIFA now pays each of its 211 member federations up to $8 million every four years, and that program was worth $470 million in soccer development funding last year.

Financial reserves fell slightly to almost $3.6 billion, FIFA said, describing the total as “a very solid level.” It should fall in each of the next two years then rise again in 2026.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer

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