It never ceases to amaze many sports fans the amounts of money being bandied about or wasted in the world of sport. In the past week there were three stories which appeared in the press within days of each other and reflected the excesses and greed in sport.
First up was news that FIFA was working with Argentina’s tax agency to try and prevent international player transfer scams. Something that has caused concerns that FIFA’s online transfer system is failing the players it was set up to help.
Argentina has discovered that it is linked to exporting players to “sporting tax havens,” in what are called “bridge transfers.” Players join a club and often never play for that club before moving on. FIFA fined five Argentine clubs this month for carrying out such practises and imposed a one year embargo on Uruguayan club America. The chances are the money being gained is rarely going back to the player or the club, but into the pocket of the administrators and agents.
The second story was to do with FIFA’s accounts. Football’s governing body announced that it made a USD$72million profit in 2013. FIFA also announced that their reserves grew to USD$1.432billion. These figures are expected to rise in 2014 as they do every World Cup year in a four year cycle.
FIFA declared that they paid USD$17million in tax linked to their various subsidiary companies including Early Warning System which has been created to monitor gambling on football and financial assets at clubs.
The President of FIFA’s salary and his associated benefits were not detailed, however it was declared that he was among a group of FIFA leaders and executives who shared in bonus payments totalling a massive USD$36.3million! One wonders why FIFA’s members do not ask for a breakdown and justification of such bonuses, but sadly we all probably know why.
Finally came the news that Cristiano Ronaldo will be leasing four executive jets to carry his family and entourage around the World Cup in Brazil in two months time. The Brazilian Air Force announced that the Portuguese team will be arriving on one aircraft, accompanied by another carrying 200 members of the Portuguese press as well as four executive jets carrying the Real Madrid star’s family.
Portugal are drawn in Group G with Germany, the USA and Ghana. One can only hope that they fail to progress from that group in order to save Ronaldo a few thousand dollars!
One thing these stories confirm is that the world of top flight sport is these days sadly definitely all about money.