Fifa reveals big increase in World Cup prize-money for 2006

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The Independent Online

Football's world governing body, Fifa, is to increase the total prize-money at next year's World Cup finals to 332 million Swiss Francs (£145m). Fifa announced the 38 per cent increase in Lausanne yesterday.

Football's world governing body, Fifa, is to increase the total prize-money at next year's World Cup finals to 332 million Swiss Francs (£145m). Fifa announced the 38 per cent increase in Lausanne yesterday.

The organisation said it had made the decision after seeing its liquid assets rise to SFr439m. Fifa posted annual profits for 2004 of SFr158m, an increase of 12 per cent compared to 2003.

"We have taken another significant stride towards our goal of having equity of between SFr350m and SFr450m by the end of 2006," Fifa's president, Sepp Blatter, said. "That equity, together with the results we have already posted from marketing, will further strengthen Fifa's solid financial foundations."

Fifa has made a priority of increasing its liquid assets since the financial failure of its marketing and television rights partners, ISL and Kirch, in 2001 and 2002 respectively. "That was a noisy and unnecessary chapter in Fifa's history, but now we are looking forward with great optimism," Blatter said.

Barcelona are close to agreeing their first shirt sponsorship deal, according to the club president, Joan Laporta. The 2008 Beijing Olympics are the front-runners to win the deal.

The Chinese government's sponsorship bid is reported to be around 19m euros (£13m) per season for five years, with bonuses relative to results. After the Olympics the club would promote the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.

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