Sports

COVID-19: FIFA approves $1.5bn relief fund

FIFA is to make available $1.5bn in grants and loans as a relief fund to help associations impacted by the coronavirus, world football’s governing body announced on Thursday.

Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president, said the relief fund had been “unanimously approved” by the members of its council and insisted there would be “strict controls” on how the money is spent.

All 211 member associations will be entitled to a “basic solidarity grant” of $1m each as well as $500,000 which must be invested in women’s football.

In addition, member associations can also apply for a COVID-19 relief loan worth 35 percent of their revenue up to a maximum of $5m each. Continental governing bodies will get $2m as a relief grant, and can also apply for an extra $4m relief loan.

Infantino promised “strict controls on the use of the funds, with audits”, and said there would be “very clear conditions” for how loans are repaid.

FIFA is financing the enormous relief fund by dipping into its reserves, with $328m covering grants and $556m to finance loans, Infantino said.

“Clubs and federations are in real danger. In some parts of the world, football has not restarted. We need to help them,” he said.

The creation of the relief fund had been announced by FIFA in March, when football across much of the globe was halted as the pandemic spread.

The Zurich-based body had already announced in April that it would free up $150m in subsidies to member associations to help deal with the consequences of the crisis.

 

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