FIFA president Infantino gets 33% pay rise to $4.6 million

FIFA raised president Gianni Infantino’s base salary by 33% last year to make his total pay package worth more than $4.67 million, world football’s governing body said in its financial report released Friday.

Infantino was re-elected unopposed in March 2023 to extend his presidency to 11 years before FIFA staged the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and picked preferred candidates to host two future men’s World Cups, including the 2034 edition which is due to be held in Saudi Arabia.

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Infantino’s pre-tax base salary payment rose by more than $565,000 last year to reach more than $2.78m. His annual bonus was worth $1.87m, the same as in 2022 when the men’s World Cup was played in Qatar.

The previous FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, had a contracted bonus worth $12m for the 2014 World Cup on top of a $3m basic salary and annual bonuses.

Infantino had a home in Qatar to oversee preparations for the 2022 tournament and now spends time in Florida, where FIFA has offices at Coral Gables, ahead of the United States co-hosting the next men’s World Cup with Canada and Mexico. Florida does not have a state income tax.

FIFA has budgeted for total revenue of $11 billion in the four-year financial cycle from 2023 through 2026 with Saudi sponsors including state oil firm Aramco expected to join longtime partners Coca-Cola, Adidas and Visa. The 2026 World Cup will be the first with 48 teams and include 104 games.

The governing body’s typically conservative projection did not include income for the 32-team men’s Club World Cup that launches next year in the U.S.

FIFA paid its CEO-like secretary general Fatma Samoura the same $2.15m package in her final year in the job as in 2022. She got a salary worth $1.47m and a $670,000 bonus before leaving in December.

Infantino has operated as an executive leader despite recommendations by a reforms panel — of which he was a member — created after corruption scandals in 2015 that the FIFA president should have a more figurehead role. That reform group also insisted on publishing details of management pay.

FIFA pay is set up by a compensation panel chaired by Mukul Mudgal, a retired judge from India who oversees governance and compliance at the football body, for which he was paid $250,000 last year.

Payments to the 37-member FIFA Council stayed the same. The six vice presidents who lead continental football bodies got a net amount of $300,000 plus expenses. Other members got $250,000 plus expenses annually.

The president of European football body UEFA, Aleksander Čeferin, was also paid a gross salary without bonus worth almost $3.26m, according to its financial report published last month.

In comparison, chief executive Richard Masters of the English Premier League, the most lucrative domestic football league, had a salary of £1.8m ($2.3m) in 2022.

Most of FIFA’s commercial income is tied to the men’s World Cup and will be booked in the accounts for 2026.

In 2023, the Women’s World Cup year, FIFA said it had revenue of $1.17bn, with $456m from marketing deals and $267m from broadcasting. Ticket and hospitality sales for the 32-team, 64-game women’s tournament were $43m.

FIFA said it spent and invested almost $1.75bn in 2023, with $499m going toward the Women’s World Cup. Payments to participating teams, players and their clubs who released them rose to $152m.

FIFA now pays each of its 211 member federations up to $8m every four years, and that program was worth $470m in football development funding last year.

Financial reserves fell slightly to almost $3.6bn, FIFA said, describing the total as “a very solid level.” It should fall in each of the next two years then rise again in 2026.