City is now considering loans
Bern borrowed 1.8 billion from Fifa
In the last six years, the city of Bern has borrowed CHF 1.8 billion from Fifa. The federal city is not alone as the debtor of the football association.
Who helped Bern with empty coffers?
Sermin Fakipolitical chief
The city of Bern has borrowed money from the international football association Fifa several times at short notice. Over a period of six years, there were 21 short-term financings amounting to around one billion francs, as the city announced on Friday. In addition, there are 14 short-term debt financings for the city-owned institutions and special accounts totaling CHF 0.8 billion. Altogether, Bern was in debt to Fifa with 1.8 billion Swiss francs!
After all: Due to the negative interest rates, Bern made a profit of 3.1 million francs with Fifa financing. After criticism of the origin, the city now wants to reconsider these loans. Because Fifa has repeatedly fallen into disrepute due to corruption affairs and the toleration of human rights violations like in Qatar – profiting from such money is not right for many.
Dozens of communities are taking out FIFA loans
Not only in Berne. As early as 2021, the SP of the Basel area municipality of Allschwil resisted the Fifa subsidy. The municipality had borrowed ten million francs and, thanks to negative interest, made a profit of 9,711 francs. The SP requested that the profit should be donated – and prevailed.
A dozen communities across Switzerland are likely to borrow money from Fifa from time to time – research by the “Aargauer Zeitung” named 2021, among others, Glattfelden ZH, Zumikon ZH, Miles ZH, Pfäffikon ZH, Wädenswil ZH, Frauenfeld TG, Langnau BE. Winterthur ZH also took out a loan of CHF 60 million.
The annual reports of the football association give an idea of how much Fifa money is in circulation in the Swiss municipalities. In 2018 it was a maximum of 759 million, at the end of 2019 around 648 and at the end of 2020 around 376 million francs.
It’s not always clear where the money comes from
At least Berne will hardly use the Fifa pots in the future, as the city’s media release shows. “The city is checking whether ethical assessment criteria will be taken into account when borrowing money in the future,” it says. Although that should not be so easy, as Finance Director Martin Aebersold writes.
Because today there are no broadly established, uniform guidelines for evaluating ethical and sustainability criteria for external financing. And even if they did: Bern got the money – like all other municipalities – via fintech platforms. In Bern it was the Loanboox financing platform. This cannot ensure that no unwanted funds are placed with the city: If you receive a financing offer, it is often unknown where the money actually comes from.
Previously, when raising outside funds in Bern, the financing partner had to be domiciled in Switzerland. In addition, only the total price offered was decisive. (sf)