Sheikh Salman warns of ‘FIFA bankruptcy’
London : FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa warned that world football’s besieged ruling body could be bankrupt in two years under proposals put forward by his election rivals.
With FIFA having already reported a $100 million loss (92.2 million euros), Sheikh Salman is adamant that the Swiss coffers could be empty by 2018 if any one of his rivals makes good on their spending plans if elected to succeed Sepp Blatter on February 26.
“FIFA’s financial status has very substantially declined over the last year alone: we are faced with a deficit of presently unknown proportions if we don’t turn this ship around,” he told insideworldfootball.com.
“These are the figures that FIFA published in their last annual report: Income and expenses for the 2011-2014 period generated a result of $338 million (311.9 million euros). Had we already adopted the proposed extreme new expenditure (a campaign promise by some), we would be in substantial negative territory already today — if we include the $100m loss FIFA generated last year alone,” said the member of the Bahrain royal family.
“This is the dire reality: by 2018, FIFA will have zero reserves left if today’s status quo remains unchanged, and if there continues to be a substantial lack of income from tv and marketing rights sales.”
He added: “Fact is that we are looking at a massive loss: the new proposals by some candidates would increase expenses by over $1 billion over four years; add to that accrued annual losses in the tens of millions, which translate into hundreds of millions over a four-year period.”
Sheikh Salman said he is the only candidate in the FIFA race to promise responsible spending.
He added that the organisation needs to explore new ways of raising money through re-energised TV deals.
“My plan is not to bankrupt FIFA but to restructure and revitalise it,” he added.
The powerful head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) also cautioned: “Nobody can honestly claim that if he is elected president, the sponsorship and broadcasting rights money will automatically start flowing again.
“We first need to repair the damages caused by past conduct before we become a viable and desirable partner to large corporations anywhere.”
In the campaign to replace the suspended Sepp Blatter, Sheikh Salman is running against Jerome Champagne, a French former FIFA official, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino, South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale and Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan.