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SBD Global/June 23, 2014/World Cup

FIFA Executive Committee Members Pocket Secret 100 Percent Pay Raise

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Members of FIFA’s "powerful executive committee have responded to new ethics rules banning their six-figure World Cup bonuses by secretly doubling their pay," according to Blake & Calvert of the SUNDAY TIMES. Documents from the FIFA files revealed that the organization "also offers to pay the money into Swiss bank accounts it controls and allows executives to withdraw it in cash lump sums." A leading tax expert last week accused FIFA of “making it easy” for its top team to dodge taxes. Each of the top football officials on the 25-strong exec committee "has seen their salary increase" this year from $100,000 to $200,000 for their part-time role. Documents from the FIFA files show that the "bumper pay award is in addition to generous expenses," which allow Exco members to claim more than $100,000 a year. This "comes on top of free business-class air travel, five star hotels and luxury meals." The pay rise follows FIFA's pledge this year to halt the "gravy train" by scrapping the practice of awarding Exco members bonuses of $75,000 a year and up to $200,000 in World Cup years. Its new audit committee had ruled that "the payments created the risk of unethical behaviour." Leaked records of one Exco account show that FIFA President Sepp Blatter "secretly awarded the committee bonuses totaling millions of dollars from the proceeds of the last World Cup in South Africa." However, when it pledged to end the bonus culture, FIFA "made no mention of the generous 100% pay rise, which the Exco had privately agreed to accept as recompense." One serving Exco member confirmed the salary increase last week, saying, "It has been doubled to take account of the dropping of the bonus." On Friday, Commons Culture, Media & Sport Committee Chair John Whittingdale "slammed FIFA's failure to address findings." Whittingdale: "They have repeatedly ignored serious findings. They have repeatedly ignored serious evidence and done as little as possible to investigate" (SUNDAY TIMES, 6/22). In a separate article, Blake & Calvert also wrote a cache of millions of leaked documents "lifts the lid on the riches Blatter showers on his top team." They also received an allowance of $700 for each day they work for FIFA -- which can add up to more than $100,000 over the course of a year -- "as well as being put up in some of the world's most luxurious hotels and flown around the globe." They "can then pick their up their wages in bundles of cash from FIFA's finance department and spend from the accounts anywhere in the world using FIFA credit cards that are debited in Switzerland." The composition of Exco "has changed considerably in the past four years, with only 13 of the men who voted on the 2018 and 2022 ballots remaining." But the pay and perks received by FIFA’s top team "are as generous as ever." For this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, Exco members "are housed at the Sofitel, one of the finest hotels in Rio de Janeiro, where guests enjoy gourmet French cuisine by the swimming pool on a raised terrace with views of Copacabana beach." On top of their $200,000 annual salary, for what is essentially a part-time role, Exco members "are paid generous pocket money while watching the World Cup." They receive a $500 daily allowance plus $200 for “other expenses.” They are also allowed to claim a $350 daily hotel allowance "to cover room charges and meals" (SUNDAY TIMES, 6/22).
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