FIFA finally revealed Sepp Blatter’s pay deal on Thursday, which was $3.76-million (U.S.) in 2015 as soccer’s embattled governing body reported a loss of $122-million for a year marred by scandal.
After years of secrecy about presidential earnings, FIFA disclosed its disgraced former president’s pay package three weeks after his employment officially ended.
Blatter, who was suspended on full pay last October and later banned for unethical conduct, had a base salary of 2,964,379-million Swiss francs ($3-million) but received no performance bonus in 2015. The total included a payment of almost $450,000 in “variable compensation” – a long-service entitlement for reaching 40 years employment at FIFA.
FIFA’s loss, its first since 2002, was expected after failing to sign any new World Cup sponsors.
Despite the corruption crisis, FIFA’s total income was $1.152-billion in 2015. Expenses of $1.274-billion included spending $61.5-million on “legal matters.”
That helped ensure that FIFA’s reserve fund fell by $183-million to $1.34-billion.
FIFA spent $27.9-million last year paying executive committee members and senior management, including Blatter. That total was $39.7-million in the 2014 World Cup year.
FIFA’s now-fired secretary general, Jerome Valcke, got 2.125-million Swiss francs ($2.2-million) in 2015.
One hour after FIFA revealed Valcke’s pay, Swiss federal prosecutors said they opened a case against him for suspected “criminal mismanagement” during his eight years as Blatter’s right-hand man.
In other pay details, each executive committee member got $300,000 last year, and senior vice-president Issa Hayatou of Cameroon got an additional $500,000 for chairing the finance committee.
FIFA agreed to start publishing executive pay in modernizing reforms approved last month, as a response to U.S. and Swiss federal investigations of corruption implicating dozens of soccer officials, including Blatter.
“With the recently approved reforms, I believe that we have turned a corner and that FIFA is poised to emerge stronger than ever,” Gianni Infantino, Blatter’s successor, said in a statement.
FIFA has acknowledged that potential commercial partners were put off by fallout from the scandals.
Top-tier sponsors Sony and Emirates Airlines have not been replaced since the 2014 World Cup, and 27 of 34 commercial slots remain unsold for the 2018 tournament in Russia.
New sponsor deals are likely to be announced soon, with Asian companies expected to step in. FIFA’s prospects improved when member federations passed the anti-corruption reforms last month and elected Swiss lawyer Infantino as president.
FIFA wants to keep Infantino’s pay package secret for one more year until the 2016 accounts are published. His salary will be less than Blatter’s, and should also be less than the yet-to-be appointed secretary general who will have wider, CEO-like decision-making powers in the modernized FIFA structure.
Cuts in staff bonuses from the World Cup appear to be reflected in FIFA’s total wage bill. In 2015, FIFA added 108 employees, for a total of 582, yet “personnel expenses” fell by more than $23-million to $92-million.
FIFA’s legal costs soared in 2015, mostly because it retained American legal firm Quinn Emanuel. Its priority is to help prevent FIFA from being indicted as a co-conspirator in bribery by the U.S. Department of Justice.
FIFA’s spending on “legal matters” was almost double the $31.3-million bill for 2014.
FIFA also paid only $3.85-million in tax, mainly on profits earned by subsidiary companies. Its tax bill was $36-million in 2014 when the annual profit was $140.7-million.
The accounts were published minutes after the Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed that Blatter filed his appeal against a six-year ban from soccer for financial conflicts of interest. CAS said Blatter seeks to annul the ban.