MANAMA: FIFA president Gianni Infantino claimed on Monday that the finances of football’s governing body were “extremely solid”, despite it posting a US$369 million 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 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.
He 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 has said previously that its losses could increase throughout this year, but rebound in 2018 to a profit of $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 its “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.
The sponsorship deal comes as FIFA struggles to find new sponsors since corruption scandals which engulfed football’s governing body in 2015.
Sony and the airline Emirates quit as top-level sponsors after the 2014 World Cup and were not immediately replaced.
The main FIFA congress also takes place in Bahrain this week, on May 11.