With more than $1.4 billion in reserve funds, FIFA, the world's top soccer organization, isn't a typical nonprofit. Its top execs likewise tend to be rich, in some cases as a direct result of their association.
There's a lot of money to be made in global soccer, by every means imaginable -- illegally, ethically and all points between. FIFA has been plagued by corruption and financial scandals, the latest accusation focusing on how much money some of the organization’s highest members may be receiving to help maintain their lavish lifestyles.
With a total of 22 sponsors that reportedly agreed to pay an estimated $200 million each for the rights to be associated with FIFA over the four-year World Cup cycle period, the organization made more than $1 billion last year. TV and marketing make up 75 percent of FIFA's revenue, and FIFA tends to spend big, too, having spent an estimated $560 million on the 2014 World Cup and other FIFA events and development.
Among the organization's seemingly endless scandals, in 2011 Jack Warner, president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), resigned after facing numerous corruption and bribery charges. A 2006 audit by FIFA’s Ethics Committee censured Warner for illegally selling $1 million in World Cup tickets.
In 2010, Nicolás Leoz, president of the South American Football Confederation, resigned after reportedly taking $130,000 from a marketing partner and requesting knighthood in exchange for his vote to support England’s 2018 World Cup bid.
In 2012, Ricardo Teixeira, Brazilian Football Confederation President resigned from the FIFA executive committee after succumbing to pressures of corruption allegations that plagued his career for years. In the 1990s, he was investigated for reportedly taking kickbacks from a marketing agency, ISL, that worked closely with FIFA during that time. In 2001, the Brazilian Congress investigated Teixeira on suspicion of 13 crimes, including tax evasion, money laundering and misleading lawmakers. No charges were brought. In May, it was revealed that Teixeira took $41 million in bribes. João Havelange, Teixeira’s former father-in-law and former FIFA president, was also involved. The pair reportedly repaid $6.1 million to stop the inquest. Havelange, who was on the International Olympic Committee, stepped down from his post in December. Teixeira stepped down this year.
On Sunday, an undercover investigation found that the president of Ghana’s Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi, reportedly agreed to have the Ghana team play in fixed international matches, and some FIFA officials were implicated.
As for its own top execs, in 2013, FIFA’s financial report showed the organization paid $36.3 million to “key management personnel.” The report was otherwise vague -- it didn't name those key personnel. But there are plenty of candidates to choose from among the 25 executive committee members, many of whom have been criticized for their opulent lifestyles or for alleged corrupt activities. Among them, the following three executive committee members have attracted the most attention.
The eighth and current president of FIFA has an estimated net worth of $10 million. Blatter worked for FIFA for more than two decades before being elected president in 1998. His terms have been rife with controversy, including allegations of financial mismanagement and accepting bribes for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The Swiss-born Blatter, 78, lives in Zurich. He has been married three times and has one daughter.
A former football player from Cameroon, the 67-year-old Hayatou has been an executive committee member since 1990. In 2002, he ran for president of FIFA but was defeated by Blatter. He also serves as the fifth president of the Confederation of African Football. In 2010, he was accused of taking bribes in the 1990s for selling TV right contracts for the World Cup. In May 2011, a whistleblower claimed Hayatou and executive member Jacques Anouma accepted $1.5 million in bribes from Qatar to secure his support for the country’s bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Considered one of the best football passers ever, Platini has belonged to FIFA’s executive committee since 2002. He hasn't been embroiled in any major controversies but was criticized after a Swiss newspaper noted that the three-time Ballon d’Or winner boasts a salary of $2.4 million, which he refuses to discuss.