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FIFA has $1.4 billion cash pile to fall back on

Journalists are reflected in a logo at the FIFA headquarters after a meeting of the executive committee in Zurich October 4, 2013. REUTERS/A
Journalists are reflected in a logo at the FIFA headquarters after a meeting of the executive committee in Zurich October 4, 2013. REUTERS/A

(Reuters) - FIFA has increased its cash pile to $1.432 billion after making a profit again last year, justifying the sum as a safety net should a World Cup have to be canceled.

Income from television rights and marketing deals ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil helped to drive up revenues to $1.386 billion, world soccer's governing body said on Friday, reporting a surplus of $72 million last year.

Many Brazilians are angry at the amount of money their country is spending on hosting the World Cup, saying they would rather have "FIFA standard" schools and hospitals and there are fears of protests around the tournament in June-July.

FIFA executive committee members are also facing renewed scrutiny over the awarding of the next two World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

The controversies have not deterred sponsors who want to be associated with the world's biggest sporting event. Credit card company Visa and sportswear group Adidas have both recently signed new deals with FIFA.

Julio Grondona, chairman of FIFA's Finance Committee, welcomed the renewals, calling them "an early sign that we can expect our finances to stay healthy for the years to come."

The winners of the World Cup will receive $35 million, part of a $576 million payout to participating countries and the clubs whose players appear at the tournament.

FIFA is not alone in building up a cash cushion to help protect against disruption to a major event. The International Olympic Committee has generated a reserve of $932 million.

FIFA says it is highly dependent on staging the World Cup every four years for its funding and notes that is almost impossible to insure against cancellation.

(Writing by Keith Weir, Editing by Martyn Herman)

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