8th President of FIFA (1998 - 2015), Joseph Blatter PIX: Xu Jinquan/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire /DPA

World football governing body FIFA revealed on Friday it made a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in 2016 as legal costs rose following a series of corruption scandals.

Accounts showed a total loss of 369 million dollars and the organization said 2017 would see further losses approaching 500 million dollars – though these can partly be explained by a switch in accounting practices.

However, the 2018 accounts are predicted to be much healthier as they will include television income from the World Cup in Russia, leading to a predicted profit of more than 1 billion dollars.

Explaining an increase in expenditure, FIFA said a “number of events caused these increases such as an increased budget for development expenses and higher competition costs, but also unforeseen costs such as legal fees and costs or extraordinary meetings.”

Investigation and legal fees were marked down as 50.465 million dollars as the era of former president Joseph Blatter draws to a close.

FIFA also blamed the Blatter regime for certain poor investments, such as the World Football Museum in Zurich, which proved costly.

“The challenges of the past 12 months are reflected in our financial
results for the year,” president Gianni Infantino said.

“These results stand as a cautionary tale of what can happen if we lose sight of the primary responsibilities of our mission, and if we fail to take the necessary steps to protect our organisation against wrong-doing.”

The organization made a loss in 2015 for the first time in 14 years but despite a second successive difficult year, retains cash reserves of 1.048 billion dollars.

“FIFA’s healthy financial reserves, built up when the
sun was shining as a prudent insurance against unforeseen risks, have served to further stabilize the organisation, and to give us the breathing space we need to put things right,” Infantino said.

“This strong financial position overall means we are more than capable of weathering the current storm.” -DPA


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