In 2021, FIFA successfully shifted to a hybrid work model that supports both remote and in-office modes and gives its employees a better and more modern work experience. FIFA continued to use its technologies efficiently to create virtual substitutes for offices, training sessions and conferences, maintaining a strong engagement with its stakeholders and ensuring that the productivity of its remote employees stays at a high level. Overall, personnel expenses increased due to the strengthening of the Swiss franc against the US dollar and higher non-cash post-employment benefit expenses.
Retirement benefit plan for employees
FIFA has established a retirement benefit plan in Switzerland for all of its employees through an insurance company. This Swiss plan is governed by the Swiss Federal Law on Occupational Retirement, Survivors’ and Disability Pension Plans (BVG), which stipulates that pension plans are to be managed by independent, legally autonomous units. The assets of the pension plan are held within a separate foundation and cannot revert to the employer. Pension plans are overseen by a regulator as well as by a state supervisory body.
FIFA participates in a Swiss “Sammelstiftung”, which is a collective foundation administrating the pension plan of various unrelated employers. The pension plan has reinsured all demographic risks and fully transferred the investment activities to the insurance company.
The most senior governing body of the collective foundation is the Board of Trustees, which manages the pension fund in compliance with the statutory provisions, the articles of association of the foundation and the directives of the supervisory authority.
The plan’s governing body (Occupational Benefits Fund Commission) is composed of an equal number of employer and employee representatives. The plan is funded by employee and employer contributions and has certain defined benefit characteristics, such as the interest guaranteed on the savings and the conversion of the savings at the end of working life into a life-long pension annuity. The employee’s contributions are determined based on the insured salary and range from 5% to 9% of the insured salary, depending on the selection of the scale by the beneficiary. The employer’s contributions must be at least equal to those of the employee. If the plan becomes underfunded, various measures can be adopted, such as lowering the interest credit rate, reducing benefits or increasing the employer and employee contributions.
If an employee leaves FIFA or the plan before reaching retirement age, the law provides for the transfer of the vested benefits to the new plan. These vested benefits comprise the employee’s and the employer’s contributions plus interest, the money originally brought in to the pension plan by the beneficiary and an additional legally stipulated amount. On reaching retirement age, the plan participant may decide whether to withdraw the benefits in the form of an annuity or (entirely or partly) as a lump-sum payment. The pension law requires pension annuities to be adjusted for inflation, depending on the financial condition of the plan.
Movement in the employees’ post-employment benefit obligation over the year 2021
Post-employment benefit obligation
The post-employment benefit expenses of USD 32.7 million included in profit or loss are part of the total expenses from football activities and total expenses from administrative activities (2020: USD 26.4 million).
As at 31 December 2021, the plan assets were invested in cash and cash equivalents of 3.4% (2020: 2.7%), debt instruments of 35.5% (2020: 41.4%), equity instruments of 35.5% (2020: 30.3%), real estate of 22.7% (2020: 22.4%) and other of 2.9% (2020: 3.2%).
The expected contributions to be paid by the employer into the plan for 2022 are USD 15.4 million.
Movement in the employees’ post-employment benefit obligation over the year 2020
Principal actuarial assumptions
Assumptions regarding future mortality as presented below are set based on Swiss BVG/LLP 2020 mortality tables for 2021 (2020: Swiss BVG/LLP 2015), which include generational mortality rates allowing for future projections of increasing longevity.
Sensitivity of the employees’ post-employment benefit obligation to changes in the weighted principal assumption at 31 December 2021
Sensitivity of the employees’ post-employment benefit obligation to changes in the weighted principal assumption at 31 December 2020
The above sensitivity analyses are based on a change in assumption while holding all other assumptions constant. In practice, this is unlikely to occur, and changes in some of the assumptions may be correlated. When calculating the sensitivity of the post-employment benefit obligation to significant actuarial assumptions, the same method (present value of the defined post-employment obligation calculated with the projected unit credit method at the end of the reporting period) has been applied as when calculating the net post-employment benefit obligation recognised within the balance sheet.
The weighted average duration of the post-employment benefit obligation is 19.2 years (2020: 21.1 years).
Accounting estimates and judgements
The rates and parameters applied above are based on past experience. Future developments in capital and labour markets could make adjustments of such rates necessary, which could significantly affect the calculation of the net post-employment benefit obligation.