FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke and president Sepp Blatter at today’s news conference (WFI/ Marta Falconi)

(WFI) FIFA reports a profit of $196 million in 2009, just a year after the financial crisis hit worldwide.

Speaking after a two-day meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee in Zurich, president Sepp Blatter expressed his satisfaction with the financial results published Friday.

“We‘re in a very good situation, despite last year was the so-called year of the effect of the financial crisis, starting at the end of 2008. I wouldn’t say we’re rich but… for the first time we have a turnover of over $1 billion,” Blatter told a news conference.

FIFA reported expenses of $863 million and revenue of $1.059 billion in 2009. It has now increased its reserves to $1.061 billion.

FIFA’s Executive Committee also approved the 2011-2014 budget, with expected revenues of $3.8 billion and expenses of $3.6 billion, out of which 74 per cent will be dedicated to football development projects and the organisation of FIFA competitions.

The financial results appear set to strengthen Blatter’s position at the helm of FIFA.

FIFA’s executive on Friday also rejected a proposal by the Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam to limit FIFA’s presidential term to eight years.

Members voted 15 to 5, with one abstension, Blatter said.

The rejection of Bin Hammam’s proposal is the first blow to his hopes of mounting a significant challenge to Blatter in next year’s FIFA presidential elections. Blatter is standing for a fourth term in 2011.

Blatter said: “They have repeated that this is nothing personal but the executive committee was of the opinion that this is a matter for the FIFA Congress.

“The arguments which were brought forward were why should the FIFA presidential office be touched by such a limit and none of the confederation presidents? If there should be such a limit of mandates then it should be valid for everybody in FIFA and not just the president.”

More aid for Haitian and Chilean FAs
The FIFA Executive Committee approved special funding for Haiti and Chile, recently hit by two devastating earthquakes.

FIFA allocated $3 million for Haiti and $1.2 million to Chile to help with the reconstruction of the local football facilities. FIFA had already provided $250,000 to both countries in immediate aid.

FIFA lifts suspension of Iraqi FA
The executive committee also announced it had lifted the suspension of the Iraqi Football Association, after the country’s Olympic Committee withdrew its decision to dissolve it, welcoming Iraq back into international football.

The Iraqi FA was suspended in November due to governmental interference. Iraqi officials will now have to reorganize their new statutes by May 31 and present them to FIFA, before holding a general assembly after two months.

2010/2014 World Cups on track

Blatter expressed satisfaction for the preparations of the World Cup in South Africa, which is 85 days away from kickoff.
“We’re very confident and proud we can deliver a World Cup in Africa and that Africa can deliver a World Cup to the world,” he said.

Similarly, FIFA also praised Brazil’s efforts to host the 2014 FIFA tournament.

“The last information we got was quite good, and the last projects fulfilled our requirements,” said Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary general. “There’s no concern today on the 2014 FIFA World Cup.”

Olympics solution
Blatter said FIFA hoped to find a solution “in solidarity” to whether football players should be released to take part in the Olympic Games.

“In solidarity we will find a solution that those players who like to go to the Olympic Games or are asked by the associations to be there, then they shall be there. It is 16 teams by 17 players, not more can be registered in the Olympic games, it’s all in all 272 players.”

Blatter said the issue will be discussed at the 60th FIFA Congress in Johannesburg on June 10.

In 1988, the FIFA Congress decided that all players up to the age of 23 were eligible to play in the Olympic tournaments and their participation would be compulsory. Some clubs had appealed against the decision to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport), which then ruled that releasing the players was not mandatory.

reporting from Marta Falconi in Zurich

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