FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes a financial "tsunami" will eventually hit world football, even if the sport is weathering the global meltdown so far.
Football's governing body relies on the World Cup _ held every four years _ for 90 percent of its revenue and expects to earn $3.2 billion in television and marketing revenue from the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
Blatter said Wednesday the organization will remain in a "comfortable situation" until 2010, but is braced for a bleaker financial outlook after that when deals for future tournaments must be negotiated.
"We are in a financial crisis in the world and football has not yet so much been touched by the first wave of an economic tsunami," Blatter told reporters in Manchester. "But the second wave will touch football, especially with the sponsorship of club football and sport in general. Look at Formula One and motor sport _ they have already lost sponsors."
A number of F1 teams have lost sponsors as several banks have withdrawn their support for the sport as the financial crisis has worsened.
Blatter said that football was "the biggest business in the world" and hoped that despite a tough economic environment it would remain so.
"There is no company in the world that makes a bigger turnover than the international football family," he said. "It's worth about $300 billion dollars... and we do hope that it can remain the biggest in the world."
While Blatter welcomed foreign investors putting money into clubs, he expressed concern that teams were losing their local identities, especially in England's Premier League.
"In England, the clubs don't belong to the fans they belong to investors," said Blatter, who favors the German model in which there is majority local ownership.
Blatter said he has met the Florida-based Glazer family, which owns Manchester United, and associates of Liverpool co-owner George Gillett Jr., from Colorado.
"I can only thank them for putting money in football. I cannot say they should not do it," he said. "It is definitely good for football that they bring money in. But perhaps it is not the right solution, but it's good as long as football, with that money, keeps the moral and ethical duty of football."
Blatter also welcomed England midfielder David Beckham's announcement that he intends to buy a Major League Soccer franchise when he retires.
"This is absolutely a good idea if a footballer who has made lot of money out of football invests it again in football," he said.
Blatter also reiterated his preference for single World Cup hosts, suggesting that Spain should abandon its joint bid with Portugal if it wishes to capture the 2018 tournament.
Last month, FIFA received 11 preliminary bids to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cups, including applications from the United States, England, Russia and joint bids from Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands.
There is a "general understanding" that Europe will play host in 2018 after South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014, Blatter said.
Candidates for 2018 have to file their official bid book by June 2010 and a decision will be made by the 24-member FIFA executive committee in December of next year.
"For political reasons we had to share the 2002 World Cup with South Korea and Japan," Blatter said. "But it was not one World Cup in two countries, it was two World Cups, with two organizing committees, twice the expenses and once the income.
"The executive committee has taken the decision as long as we have individual candidates able to organize the World Cup alone then this should be the principle."