2020 financials in review
2020 financials and 2022 budget

2020 financials in review ­

17 min. reading time

FIFA remains on track

COVID-19 severely disrupted football at all levels in 2020, with the cancellation or postponement of leagues and FIFA’s football tournaments around the world. Despite the impact of the pandemic on the international match calendar and global economy, FIFA’s revenue in 2020 exceeded its revised budget. In addition, preparations for its flagship tournament, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, are proceeding as planned.

FIFA is on track to reach its projected total revenue of USD 6,440 million for the 2019-2022 cycle. At the end of 2020, contracted revenue amounted to USD 5,125 million, representing 80% of the total budgeted revenue for the 2019-2022 cycle. Specifically, 92% of the 2019-2022 budget for FIFA’s largest revenue source, the sale of TV broadcasting rights, had already been contracted by 31 December 2020, with several international regions having been completely sold.

The pandemic severely disrupted football around the world, with the postponement or cancellation of numerous international matches and the majority of FIFA’s tournaments in 2020. Nevertheless, 2020 revenue still totalled USD 267 million, being 7% above the revised budgeted revenue.

Licensing rights

Due to the lack of tournaments played in 2020, the sale of licensing rights amounting to USD 159 million produced the lion’s share of the revenue generated, and was a significant 24% above budget. A key source of revenue in the licensing rights area was brand licensing for video games. In contrast to the many economic sectors that were drastically affected by COVID-19, the video game industry proved far more resilient to the pandemic. Besides the FIFA eClub World Cup™, the FIFA eChallenger Series and the FIFA eNations StayAndPlay Friendlies, FIFA also successfully launched the FIFA eContinental Cup™. In addition, 2020 saw the introduction of FIFAe, a new eSports tournament brand designed to create a substantial stage for players, clubs and nations.

Marketing rights

The second largest source of revenue was the sale of marketing rights amounting to USD 74 million, 76% of which came from FIFA Partners. Following on from Qatar Airways becoming an Official Partner and the Official Airline of FIFA in 2017, another Qatar-based company, GWC, was announced as the first Regional Supporter and Official Logistics Provider for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Television broadcasting rights

The decision to postpone or cancel FIFA competitions that were scheduled to be hosted in 2020 meant that revenue from television broadcasting rights remained low for the year, in line with the revised budget. As at the end of 2020, 92% of the budget for these rights had been contracted for the 2019-2022 cycle, so FIFA is well on track to deliver its four-year revenue budget.

Other revenue and income

Other revenue and income of USD 32 million included USD 9 million from the FIFA Quality Programme and USD 6 million from penalties and appeals, with the remainder coming from rental income, the FIFA World Football Museum, income from the sale of films and video rights and revenue from prior cycles. No revenue was recognised from the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™, the largest contributor to the budget for this category. The tournament, originally due to be held in December 2020, was rescheduled for February 2021 due to the disruptive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 revenue by category (TUSD)

Actual revenue 2015‑2018 versus revised budget 2019‑2022 (USD million)

267 000

+7% versus budget
Total revenue in 2020 (in USD million)

159 000

+24% versus budget
Revenue from licensing rights in 2020 (in USD million)

80 00 %

Revenue contracts signed of 2019-2022 budget

6,440 0,000

Well on track to reach cycle budget (in USD million)

Football’s return to action assisted by FIFA COVID‑19 Relief Plan ­

2020 was without a doubt a challenging year, one that required a rapid response and extraordinary measures to alleviate the impact of the crisis and to help the football community. The most important of these measures was a USD 1,500-million relief plan that was unanimously approved by the FIFA Council. This COVID-19 Relief Plan was funded partly from the previously agreed budget and partly from FIFA’s excess reserves in the form of a special budget.
In the same spirit, FIFA adapted its operations to the changing situation as quickly as possible, in particular by ensuring that the Forward Programme continued without interruption and with full funding, despite the global pandemic.

Together with its member associations, FIFA is committed to enabling more and more people to participate in and enjoy football. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, 2020 was a particularly challenging year for the game. As the pandemic took root, football stopped completely in all but four of FIFA’s 211 member associations.

FIFA’s total investments in 2020 were fully dedicated to FIFA’s overarching goals and to easing the impact of the pandemic. Investments amounted to USD 1,045 million, comprising planned investments of USD 774 million and USD 271 million as emergency investment through stage 3 of the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan. Furthermore, FIFA adapted quickly to COVID-19-related lockdowns and introduced working from home as a requirement. Reduced travel and a large-scale switch to online meetings and training resulted in a significant amount of cost savings, in line with the organisation’s continued focus on cost efficiency.

FIFA can look back on a successful year, in which it was able to implement both focus points in full, as will be examined in more detail in the following chapters.

Looking ahead

In 2020, the FIFA President announced his vision for the period of 2020-2023. FIFA’s core mission over the coming years is to make football truly global across every level of the game. Under the vision, FIFA is taking its investment in football development to new heights. By continuing to focus on this area, FIFA anticipates that 87% of its net revenue after sales costs will be reinvested in football by end of the cycle.

Emergency investment via the FIFA COVID‑19 Relief Plan ­

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, FIFA has continuously stressed the need to put health first. Safeguarding the public and ensuring the well-being of players, officials – indeed, everyone involved in football – is of primary importance.

The resultant suspension of all football activity in almost every country led to enormous financial distress for each member association (MA) and its respective football infrastructure. FIFA quickly recognised the need and obligation to implement a COVID-19 relief plan aimed at alleviating this distress and ensuring the provision of financial support to assist with football’s resumption as well as protect the future welfare of the game across the globe.

FIFA’s very strong financial position enabled a substantial financial relief plan to be put in place, amounting to USD 1,500 million. A measured approach was adopted, with the aim of establishing an effective and meaningful plan capable of offering support to the whole football community across all 211 MAs. Extensive analysis and consultations took place, along with careful consideration with regard to establishing an appropriate governance and operational structure for the plan.

This work resulted in the implementation of the following three-stage approach:

Stage 1 – provision of immediate liquidity relief to MAs

The most urgent priority established was the need for an instant injection of liquidity to assist MAs in the immediate short term. As a result, in April 2020, the Development Committee and Finance Committee approved the immediate release of remaining 2019 and 2020 Forward 2.0 operational-cost entitlements to MAs under the FIFA Forward Programme. The subsequent use of these funds by MAs will be fully audited as per the FIFA Forward Regulations.

Stage 2 – provision of additional support to MAs

In addition to the release of operational-cost entitlements, it was decided that MAs should be given the opportunity to transform their remaining Forward project funds into “COVID-19 relief funds”. These options were approved by the Development Committee and Finance Committee in May 2020. The existing Forward 2.0 regulatory framework continues to apply and MAs are required to inform FIFA of how the funds will be used in response to COVID-19 issues. The subsequent use of the funds by MAs will be fully audited as per the FIFA Forward Regulations.

Stage 3 – support for MAs and the wider football community

The third aspect of the relief plan was designed so as to provide MAs and confederations with additional financial support to help protect football from the adverse economic effects of COVID-19 in their individual countries and regions.

Since each MA and confederation has different needs, a grant-and-loan system was established to allow the tailored use of funds available under stage 3 of the relief plan. Each MA will be given the opportunity to illustrate where the funds are used to ensure the continuous development of football in all its forms (including futsal and beach soccer) – from grassroots to elite level, for girls and boys, women and men – as well as to maintain their governance, management and administration systems.

Under stage 3, a universal solidarity grant of USD 1 million was made available to each MA to protect football and enable its resumption, and an additional grant of USD 0.5 million per MA was allocated specifically for women’s football. In addition, each confederation was entitled to receive a grant of USD 2 million. Furthermore, in the interests of solidarity, loans of between USD 0.5 million and USD 5 million were made available to MAs and confederations. MAs are able to apply for interest-free loans of up to 35% of their audited annual revenues. In addition, each confederation has access to a loan of up to USD 4 million. Both grants and loans can be distributed by MAs to the wider football community in their respective territories, including clubs, players, leagues, or others that have been affected.

In order to finance stage 3 of the relief plan and provide assistance to MAs, the confederations and other football stakeholders, an allocation of part of FIFA’s existing excess reserves was required.

The implementation of the COVID-19 Relief Plan got off to a good start, a key feature being the provision of strong compliance and auditing standards. Every single member association and confederation that receives funding from FIFA will be audited twice: once by the auditors sent by FIFA under the current system of central reviews and once by its own statutory auditors.

Olli Rehn, who is the Governor of the Bank of Finland as well as deputy chairman of the FIFA Governance Committee, was appointed as Chairman of the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan Steering Committee. Under his leadership, this independent body follows and monitors the execution of the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan, its economic administration, and its effective and efficient implementation all over the world.

To speed up the release of the loans, the FIFA administration provided support throughout the loan application process to ensure good financial governance and continuity across all beneficiaries. The subsequent use of the loans by MAs will also be fully audited during the annual central review.

USD 1.5 0.0 bn

total funding available

USD 500,000 000,000

specifically for women’s football

USD 1 0 million

grant to protect and restart football

USD 5 0 million

Up to USD 5 million available in interest-free loans

Regularly budgeted investments in football and administration ­

FIFA’s total investments in 2020 for its regular operations amounted to USD 774 million, comprising USD 564 million in football activities and USD 210 million in administrative and commercial activities, well below the revised budget of USD 1,044 million. Due to COVID-19 and the resultant restrictions on movement, FIFA introduced working from home as a requirement. Travel was reduced to the bare minimum, and a large-scale switch to online meetings and training produced significant cost savings, which was in line with the organisation’s continued focus on cost efficiency.

Competitions & Events

In 2020, FIFA tournaments, with the exception of its eFootball competitions, had to be postponed or cancelled due to the global pandemic. As a result, budgets were revised, based on the updated international match calendar. Planning and preparations, however, continued apace for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 and the venue selection process for the FIFA World Cup 2026. Overall, FIFA invested USD 63 million in Competitions & Events, accounting for 52% of the revised budgeted amount. The reduced expense compared to the revised budget relates mainly to the decision to postpone the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar™, which was originally planned for 2020 and budgeted in that year. Another reason was the fact that the Best FIFA Football Awards™ 2020 were held in a virtual format for the first time, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This new format reduced costs by 76% compared to budget and generated cost savings of USD 5 million. Further cost savings of USD 16 million were achieved thanks to successful negotiations with a new partner for the FIFA Club Protection Programme and the significant reduction in international matches.

Development and Education

Investments in Development and Education amounted to USD 471 million, of which USD 361 million was granted directly to FIFA’s MAs, the confederations and the zonal/regional associations through the FIFA Forward Programme. In addition, the FIFA Council agreed to extend the deadline for any of the unused funds allocated under Forward 1.0 to MAs, confederations and zonal/regional associations in order to take account of time constraints in terms of implementation that had arisen due to the pandemic for many of the beneficiaries.

Investments in refereeing, technical development programme, women’s football promotion, education, sustainability, human rights and anti-discrimination, audit and financial education, medicine and science and other projects came to USD 35 million, 49% below budget. These reductions were mainly the result of travel restrictions, lower on-site project activities and a marked shift towards the use of online courses and meetings. FIFA also allocated USD 5 million and USD 4 million to the FIFA Foundation and the FIFA World Football Museum respectively.

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) and FIFA had agreed a four-year collaboration to promote healthy lifestyles through football globally. In response to the worldwide pandemic and in addition to the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan, FIFA donated USD 10 million to the WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. FIFA worked with the WHO to ensure that these funds were used to support the fight against the virus in all corners of the world.

USD 4 billion

In 2016, FIFA President Gianni Infantino pledged to invest USD 4 billion until 2026 in football development through FIFA’s 211 member associations under the FIFA Forward Programme and additional funding initiatives. Under the new leadership, FIFA successively launched FIFA Forward Programmes 1.0 and 2.0, the Football for Schools Programme, the FIFA Women’s Football Development Programme, the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan and other football development programmes, and established the FIFA Foundation. FIFA’s investment via its 211 member associations will exceed 80% of the pledged amount by the end of the 2019-2022 cycle, with four years still to go. In other words, the target will be well surpassed by the end of 2026.

Fivefold increase

In 2020, FIFA’s implementation of Forward 2.0, its signature development programme, was unaffected by the pandemic. Accordingly, it is expected that the full-cycle budget of USD 1,746 million will be invested to the benefit of FIFA’s 211 member associations, the six confederations and the zonal/regional associations. Since Forward was launched in 2016, the annual entitlements are now five times greater than they were under the previous programme. In addition to the increase in development funds, Forward has strengthened their impact thanks to far stricter controls on how they are spent, with a view to ensuring that they are deployed for the development of football.

Football Governance

Football Governance expenses amounted to USD 30 million, which mainly comprised personnel expenses for establishing and monitoring football governance policies at USD 18 million and USD 10 million for football governance bodies (the Disciplinary, Ethics and Appeal Committees and the Player’s Status Committee) and third-party services (preventing match manipulation, the Transfer Matching System, The International Football Association Board and general professional football services).

FIFA Governance and Administration

Expenses for FIFA Governance and Administration stood at USD 169 million, USD 42 million lower than that budgeted for 2020. The reduction was mainly attributable to two items: strict cost containment measures taken in FIFA’s internal organisation, which saw administration expenses (travel and accommodation, public relations, advertising, value in kind, consultancy, audit, translation and insurance as well as office supplies and administrative activities) decrease by USD 25 million, and legal costs in relation to litigation and compliance fall by USD 6 million. In addition, expenses for communications, the online FIFA Congress and committee meetings, and buildings and maintenance were all well below budget. In 2020, the FIFA Congress convened remotely for the first time ever, a successful initiative that proved FIFA could host videoconferences with a global scope and control event costs at the same time.

Marketing and TV Broadcasting

USD 41 million was invested in Marketing and TV Broadcasting to fulfil contractual obligations in relation to TV broadcasting rights, marketing rights and licensing rights as well as related sales commission, personnel expenses and depreciation of property and equipment.

2020 investments/ expenses by category (TUSD)

Actual investments/expenses versus budget 2020 (USD million) ­

774 000

Total investments in 2020 (in USD million)

169 000

-20% versus budget
Expenses in FIFA Governance & Administration (in USD million)

361 000

Investments in Forward 2.0 (in USD million)

10 00

Donation to the WHO (in USD million)

Robust financial position ­

The balance sheet as at 31 December 2020 reflects FIFA’s healthy and sustainable financial position. Thanks to its high level of short-duration financial assets, FIFA was able to respond flexibly to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, setting up the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan and reaffirming its commitment to investing USD 1 billion in women’s football.

As at the balance sheet date, FIFA’s total assets amounted to USD 4,535 million, of which 77% or USD 3,494 million was in the form of cash and cash equivalents and financial assets. FIFA actively increased its liquidity, which can also be seen in the proportion of cash and cash equivalents to total assets, which increased from 17% in 2019 to 25% in 2020. This high level of liquidity enabled FIFA to respond with great flexibility to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global football community.

Current assets and current liabilities stood at USD 3,312 million and USD 913 million respectively. This ratio shows that FIFA is in good financial health and can adequately meet its short-term obligations.

Current and non-current contract liabilities totalled USD 1,446 million, accounting for 54% of total liabilities. Under IFRS 15, contract liabilities are derecognised and revenue is recognised when FIFA delivers the contractually agreed goods or services. Contract liabilities are naturally expected to be significantly lower at the end of the 2019-2022 cycle.

Having sufficient reserves increases FIFA’s ability to react quickly to unexpected circumstances. As at 31 December 2020, FIFA’s reserves came to USD 1,881 million, a reduction of USD 705 million or 27% compared to 2019. This reduction was mainly accounted for by the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan and FIFA’s global football development programmes. The equity ratio of 41% shows that FIFA still retains a solid level of reserves.

Asset management

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic precipitated the sharpest and deepest economic contraction since the Great Depression. Most countries committed to fiscal and monetary stimulus packages in an attempt to soften the effects of the pandemic. As a result, the historically low interest rates fell yet further. This extreme low-rate environment presents challenges for fixed-income investments.

Back in October 2018, the FIFA Council had decided on a new investment strategy. Following this decision, FIFA appointed reputable and well-known financial institutions through an open bidding process to manage its money-market, government-bond, global-bond and equity portfolios. This new investment strategy is being implemented via a staggered approach, under which the portfolios were set to reach the target investment amount by mid-2021.

Guided by the updated FIFA Financial Asset Management Regulations, the FIFA Finance Division adheres to the main objectives of FIFA’s asset management: to preserve the real value of the financial assets and to ensure that financial obligations can be met at all times. As at 31 December 2020, total assets under management produced a return of 1.1% with a modified duration of 1.29.

In summary, FIFA’s financial position is robust, with sufficient reserves to react quickly to unexpected circumstances. The excellent asset management returns achieved in 2020 strengthened this position yet further.

Balance sheet as at 31 December 2020 versus 31 December 2019 (in TUSD)

Development of reserves 2011‑2020 (USD million) ­

4,535 0,000

Total assets at 31 December 2020 (in USD million)

1,881 0,000

Reserves (in USD million)

3,494 0,000

77% of total assets
Cash and financial assets (in USD million)

363 000 %

Current ratio (current assets over current liabilities)