Why the monthly remuneration for the head of the Japan Football Association was quietly raised to “3 million yen” in spite of a large deficit. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Why the monthly remuneration for the head of the Japan Football Association was quietly raised to “3 million yen” in spite of a large deficit.

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JFA President Kozo Tajima paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Kishida after the World Cup last December 8. Incidentally, the annual income of the prime minister is estimated at 40 million yen, and with the revision of the “Regulations Concerning Remuneration and Expenses of Officers and Councilors” decided at the annual council committee meeting in late March, the JFA president’s remuneration is now at the level of the prime minister (Photo: AFRO)

Remuneration for the nine full-time officers of the Japan Football Association (hereinafter referred to as “JFA”) was recently increased substantially. Monthly compensation of 2.5 million yen has increased to 3 million yen. This is about the same amount as that of sumo grand champion Terunofuji. Although the salary of JFA President Kozo Tajima, 65, who is currently the head of the JFA, will not be increased, it was revealed that the annual salary of the person who will assume the presidency will be 36 million yen.

The JFA is suffering a significant decrease in revenue amid the COVID-19 crisis, which has not yet been fully resolved. The JFA announced that its financial results for fiscal 2010 (January 1-December 31) showed a deficit of approximately 4.88 billion yen. This significant deficit is despite the fact that the Japanese national team sold its own building, JFA House (Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo), for more than 10 billion yen last December after a strong performance in defeating Germany and Spain, the past World Cup winners. The increase in executive compensation under such circumstances is a surprise not only within the JFA, but also to other athletic organizations.

The raise is intended to bring in talented people.

In late March, when Japan was still abuzz with excitement over Japan’s WBC victory by the Kuriyama Japan baseball team, the JFA held its annual board of trustees meeting, the decision-making body that decides the future direction of the organization. At the meeting, it was decided that the “remuneration” of full-time directors would be substantially increased.

The decision was made in order to attract more talented people to JFA. (In exchange for the increase in monthly compensation, there will be no severance pay.

Managing Director Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, who was the captain of the Japanese national team at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea and the following World Cup in Germany in 2006, and who became the association’s No. 3 on February 1 of this year, explained.

The JFA has had paid directors since 2002, when Saburo Kawabuchi became president of the JFA, and Kawabuchi, the top director at the time, was also paid an estimated 20 million yen a year. At this annual meeting of the Board of Trustees, the monthly salary was increased by 500,000 yen to 3 million yen, and it was decided to abolish the executive retirement benefit system (retirement allowance) instead.

In addition, the total amount of income from his position as a full-time director of the JFA, which had previously been limited to 200 million yen, including additional income from lectures and other activities in addition to his main job, was raised to 300 million yen or less per year.

However, a local association official said, “This is impossible; the association’s finances are unstable enough to sell the JFA House. At the JFA’s announcement that it posted a deficit of approximately 4.88 billion yen for the fiscal year 2010, Managing Director Miyamoto also revealed that the specified deposit (approximately 4.53 billion yen) for the repair of the JFA House to be sold was reversed and used to cover the deficit. In fact, the deficit is about 350 million yen (not 4.8 billion yen).”

In response to this explanation by Executive Director Miyamoto, the aforementioned local association official said, “From now on, the JFA will not have any more real estate to sell. We are not prepared for the case of another deficit in the next fiscal year. Under such circumstances, an increase in the director’s remuneration is something that would never happen in any other sports organization, let alone in a general corporate organization,” he said with an indignant expression.

The monthly remuneration of 3 million yen is simply converted to an annual salary of 36 million yen. It must be difficult for ordinary salarymen to understand. Compared to other athletic organizations, it is about the same amount as that of the yokozuna (Terunofuji) of the Grand Sumo Tournament. After the “Wakaki fever” of the 1990s, the Japan Sumo Association had many scandals and poor attendance, and there was a period when the association turned a deaf ear to requests for a salary increase from the rikitori, but in November 2006, for the first time in eight years, the association decided to raise the salary of the yokozuna. In November 2006, however, he decided to raise his monthly salary for the first time in eight years.

What do successive presidents of the Japan Football Association think about this pay raise? From left to right: Junji Ogura, who served from ’10 to ’12; Saburo Kawabuchi, who served from ’02 to ’08; Kuniya Ohito, who served from ’12 to ’16 (Photo: AFLO)

What about professional baseball? The equivalent organization to the Japan Football Association is the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization (NPB).

The NPB is made up of contributions from each team, so it is impossible to make a simple comparison, but it is unlikely to be as expensive as the Japan Football Association. Even the top commissioner cannot be paid 30 million a year, and it is unlikely that a full-time NPB employee receives more money than the president of a professional baseball team.

NPB officials are paid 20 million yen, while the managing director of the Rugby Association is paid 12 million yen?

So, what is the market rate of remuneration for the presidents of the 12 professional baseball teams? A person in charge of a baseball team continues, “The president of the 12 professional baseball teams is seconded from the parent company.”

If the president is a person who has been transferred from the parent company, his salary is the same as that of a general manager of the company. I don’t think there are many presidents who are paid 20 million yen a year.

What about rugby, for which the World Cup will be held in France in September?

A sports newspaper desk clerk revealed, “The president of the Japan Association is almost unpaid.

“The president of the Japan Association is almost unpaid. Many of the previous presidents, including Yoshiro Mori and Tadashi Okamura, who held important positions at Toshiba and the Federation of Economic Organizations, had heavy responsibilities in their day jobs, and I think there were circumstances that made it impossible for them to work full-time for the association. I believe that Masato Tsuchida, the current chairman of Suntory, who also holds a heavy responsibility at Suntory, receives very little from the association. I heard some time ago that the annual salary of a full-time executive director of the association is 12 million yen,” said Mr. Tsuchida.

A person with experience as an executive of the Japan Rugby Union continues.

“Three million yen per month for a director? That is not good or bad, it is the way of thinking of the soccer association, and I guess it is possible as a way of doing things. …… Well, it is difficult in rugby.”

The Moriyasu Japan team, which made a great start at the World Cup in Qatar at the end of last year, restarted in March. The two matches against the South American powerhouses (vs. Uruguay and Colombia) ended without a win (1-1), but the two games drew a total of 81,860 spectators, with JFA Managing Director Miyamoto commenting, “We are now able to cheer loudly and loudly. We also had over 60,000 visitors at the National Stadium. We have high expectations for the future.” He expressed confidence in the recovery of the deficit.

However, if Moriyasu Japan’s poor performance continues, the JFA’s finances will be affected by the slump in attendance and TV ratings. It was under these circumstances that the decision was quietly made to increase the remuneration of the JFA’s full-time directors. It is likely that attention will be paid not only to the results of the Japan national team, but also to the work performance of the executives who lead the Japanese soccer world.

In March, JFA Managing Director Tsuneyasu Miyamoto announced the slogan for the Japan national team. Will the courage to ask good people to come take shape?

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