Fifa begin payments to all nations as part of $150m coronavirus emergency relief fund

Fifa will pay out $150m (£121m) to its 211 national associations in the coming days to fast-forward payments due at the end of the season in an effort to help governing bodies through the coronavirus crisis.

With football suspended across the globe and international matches postponed through to the autumn at the very least, governing bodies face unprecedented losses and financial crisis, with the sport far from exempt from the struggles that other industries are already facing.

Fifa announced a financial relief package that will tap into their enormous cash reserves, which in last year’s annual report were registered at $2.7bn (£2.2bn) to help all areas of the sport. 

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As part of “step one” of an emergency relief package that will see more money distributed “in due course”, Fifa has allocated $500,000 (£404,000) to each of the 211 member associations in money that was due to be paid in July, and have waived the specific criteria that under normal circumstances needs to be fulfilled before receiving the payment. The body will also pay any remaining entitlement left over from both 2019 and 2020.

“The pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for the entire football community and, as the world governing body, it is Fifa’s duty to be there and support the ones that are facing acute needs,” said Fifa President Gianni Infantino. 

“This starts by providing immediate financial assistance to our member associations, many of which are experiencing severe financial distress. This is the first step of a far-reaching financial relief plan we are developing to respond to the emergency across the whole football community. Together with our stakeholders, we are assessing the losses and we are working on the most appropriate and effective tools to implement the other stages of this relief plan.

“I would like to thank the chairpersons of the Fifa Development Committee, Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, and the Fifa Finance Committee, Alejandro Domínguez, for their commitment and urgent approval of these measures by their committees.”

The outbreak of Covid-19 has already seen the European Championship and Copa America, both due to take place this summer, postponed until 2021, while the Olympic football tournament has also been delayed by 12 months following the postponement of Tokyo 2020.

Fifa added that they hoped the release of the first phase of funding will help associate members to “meet financial or operational obligations that they may have towards staff and other third parties”, but added that as part of the Forward 2.0 Programme that involves the planned payments “the standard obligations and responsibilities in relation to the use of these funds … remain fully applicable and will be subject to the standard audit and reporting process”.

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