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May 23, 2014

World Cup set to be most lucrative ever

The 2014 World Cup is set to be the most lucrative -- and the most expensive -- in the tournament's history.

- World Cup Daily

FIFA, world football's governing body, said the Brazil event, for which almost three million tickets are available, was almost sold out. It has warned fans to beware of fake tickets that are in circulation.

Commercial revenues are likely to bring in close to $4 billion, and the organisation believes it will spend around $2 billion on the tournament. But secretary general Jerome Valcke said: "The financial success -- it is done. We have never sold so many tickets."

FIFA has already paid $221.6 million to the Brazil organising committee, with more likely to follow as disputes over payment for essential services are resolved. Earlier this year, the governing body settled a bill of almost $20 million for extra power generators needed in broadcasting.

The prize money available to the winning nation's football governing body is also at a record level -- $35 million.

But host nation Brazil must foot the largest bill ever faced by a country staging the World Cup, with costs likely to come in at $14 billion.

That huge bill covers the cost of either refurbishing or building stadiums for the event, improving infrastructure and beefing up logistical and security plans to cope with an influx of well over half a million visitors.

The cost to the taxpayer of staging the tournament has sparked protests in Brazil. Many feel the money that has gone on hosting the World Cup would have been better spent on hospitals, schools and tackling the problems caused by widespread poverty.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is worried the street protests that are planned during the World Cup could hurt his team's chances of winning the title.

But Valcke insisted: "When Brazil bid for the World Cup, they had the budget to do so."

FIFA has stressed that it reinvests around 75 percent of its income into football, with millions of dollars spent on development projects including the provision of pitches and training.

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