FIFA promises $9.7bn investment in world game through to 2026

December 16 – FIFA has announced that the budget for the 2023-2026 cycle will see £9.7 billion invested in football as the world cover expands its competitions and ambition.

FIFA confirmed that its revenue at the end of 2022 will hit $7.5 billion, $1 billion more than budgeted. The FIFA Council, meeting before the World Cup final in Doha approved the 2023-2026 budget which is predicting revenue of $11 billion – enabling the $9.7 billion payout.

The biggest winners will be Infantino’s voting constituency – the member associations – who will see extra funding made available as solidarity funding, subject to what FIFA called ‘specific criteria’.

It is the allocation of that funding and how it is received that can make or break a FIFA president. Infantino indicated in his press conference today that following his re-election next year (he is standing for the presidency unopposed), he will be entering his second term of office (his first term in office, when he was fulfilling the mandate originally given to Sepp Blatter) doesn’t count. The implied indication from his comments is that he will go for a third.

If successful, he would have been FIFA president for 15 years. The bumper revenue projection will be a useful ally in making that happen.

FIFA emphasised that the additional funding will support its expanded competitions and calendar, starting with a 32-team Women’s World Cup next year, and the addition of a 32-team Club World Cup in 2025. Those competitions will need cashflowing to get started but are expected to be significant revenue generators for FIFA going forward.

Another big winner in the new money go-round is Infantino’s dutiful sidekick Arsene Wenger, Chief of Global Football Development, and his Talent Development Scheme (TDS).

FIFA said the Council had “approved a dedicated funding allocation of $200 million to cover the 2023-2026 operational life cycle of this ground-breaking initiative, which aims to create a sustainable legacy for long-term player development by helping each member association (MA) reach its full potential and ultimately give every talent a chance.”

What that actually means is really anyone’s guess. It will be fun watching all these future talents emerge from FIFA world.

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