FIFA enter centennial year on sound financial footing

ZURICH: FIFA has entered its centennial year of 2004 on a solid financial footing after recording a profit of 141mil Swiss francs (US$111.1mil) last year, world football's governing body said yesterday. 

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he was delighted the organisation had recorded such healthy results in the first year of its 2003-2006 World Cup cycle and vowed to maintain the body's financial transparency. 

“Our finances are healthy in every respect,” Blatter said in a statement, as the organisation forecast further profits in the run-up to the 2006 World Cup in Germany. 

“We can now celebrate the FIFA centennial safe in the knowledge that we have built upon our forefathers' legacy and done everything in our power to guarantee a successful future.” 

The Swiss-based federation was presenting its annual results for the second time since allegations of financial mismanagement surrounded FIFA's presidential campaign in 2002. 

Blatter was cleared of financial mismanagement by a Swiss court and last year won damages for defamation. 

FIFA has adopted international accounting rules which allow it to spread out costs and book revenues from money-spinning World Cup events over a four-year period. 

Blatter, who has revised FIFA's structures, staffing and finances since winning the 2002 presidential elections, said the ruling body had met self-imposed financial controls. 

Having regained control over the marketing and broadcasting rights to future World Cup events, officials said FIFA had reduced its exposure to corporate collapses such as those of partners ISL in 2001 and Germany's Kirch media empire in 2002. 

“We had our changes to make,” General Secretary Urs Linsi told Reuters. “Now we are in a position to make the next step but first we had to build the foundations.” 

FIFA reported income of 712mil Swiss francs in the year to Dec 31, 2003, with 683mil of that amount coming from FIFA competitions, most notably the 2006 World Cup. 

Expenditure last year was 571mil Swiss francs, with 297mil spent on “additional FIFA events” and 145mil for FIFA development programmes. 

FIFA said it expected in the four years to the end of 2006 to make a profit of 186mil Swiss francs on a cash basis compared with 115mil at the end of 2002 and said it anticipated equity swelling to between 350 and 450mil francs from 94mil in 2003. Reuters 

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