GLOBAL – World football governing body FIFA has introduced a retirement plan for its executive committee members at a cost of CHF12.5m (€8m).

The Zurich-based Federation Internationale de Football Association said in its 2005 annual financial report that its executive committee had decided to introduce the plan in March of that year.

“The provisions of CHF12.5m set aside in 2005 follow on from the decision reached by the FIFA executive committee on 7-8 March 2005 to introduce a retirement plan for executive committee members,” the report said.

“An annual retirement payment will be made to long-serving FIFA executive committee members who retire in 2005 or thereafter.”

Only executive committee members may benefit from the scheme – with family members or relatives not entitled to receive payments. The retirement payments will start in the financial year following retirement.

The actual return on the employee pension fund’s assets was CHF1.1m, up from 2004’s CHF682,000.

FIFA’s total pension expense rose to CHF6m from CHF4.9m in 2005.

The 18th football World Cup starts today with hosts Germany taking on Costa Rica in Munich.