Governing body rakes in the dough

[FIFA] How rich is FIFA? Despite a worldwide recession, soccer's international governing body made a profit of $196 million on revenues of $1.059 billion in 2009 and increased its reserves to more than $1 billion. FIFA made so much money it will distribute some of it to its confederations ($2.5 million apiece) and national federations ($250,000 each).

“It is a gift,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter said. “$56 million that we give back to shareholders, if we can say this.”

FIFA also created funds to help for Haiti ($3 million) and Chile ($1.2 million), both hit hard by devastating earthquakes this year.

The reserves are the money FIFA has set aside to self-insure itself.

The release of FIFA's finances coincided with the meeting its executive committee. Among the executive committee's actions:

-- Decided to modify its yellow card rule at the 2010 World Cup. Cards will carry over to the round of 16 and quarterfinals and not the semifinals, meaning that no player who reaches the semifinals will be ineligible for the final because of yellow card accumulation. The bad news: players will carry their yellow cards for two more games. At recent World Cups, yellow cards were expunged after group play.

-- Rejected a measure introduced by Asian confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam to put an eight-year limit on future presidential terms. (The vote was seen as a test of opposition to Blatter. Bin Hammam or another Asian is expected to make a run at the FIFA presidency in 2011.)

— Proposed that the existing player eligibility rules for Olympic tournaments be maintained beyond the 2012 London Games. (The tournament is an under-23 event at which teams are allowed to select three players older than 23.)

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