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Fifa forms Covid-19 working group, confirms Club World Cup delay

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks to the media after a FIFA Council meeting in Shanghai (by Fred Lee - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Fifa has agreed to delay the inaugural staging of its revamped Club World Cup in China to accommodate the new dates for the European Championship and Copa América national team tournaments, adding that it will form a new working group with confederations to develop a “coordinated approach” with regards Covid-19.

The moves, which were signalled by Fifa president Gianni Infantino earlier this week, were signed off at a meeting of the ruling Council of world football’s governing body by conference call. Fifa has ratified the new dates of the South American Football Confederation’s (Conmebol) Copa América, which was due to have been co-hosted by Argentina and Colombia from June 12 to July 12, and the Uefa Euro, which had been scheduled across a dozen different European cities on the same dates.

The two showpiece tournaments have now been rubber-stamped for June 11 to July 11 next year, with Fifa stating it will decide “at a later stage” when to schedule the new Club World Cup, which was due to take place in China in June/July 2021.

Meanwhile, Fifa said its confederations working group would seek to monitor the evolving Covid-19 situation, with a view to agreeing on a coordinated approach addressing the consequences of the pandemic. It is set to address three key topics, including appropriate global solutions for the competition calendar at all levels.

The status of club contracts amid the crisis has also been a major concern for players, with Fifa stating the working group will assess the need for amendments or temporary dispensations to the Fifa Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players’ to protect contracts for both players and clubs. This could include adjusting player registration periods.

Finally, Fifa said it will assess the economic impact faced by the various football stakeholders in each continent to analyse if a support fund at global level will be required and how in that case concrete support mechanisms should be defined.

In addition, Fifa confirmed that it will donate $10m (€9.3m) to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Infantino said: “This exceptional situation requires exceptional measures and decisions. This crisis impacts the entire world and that is why solutions need to take into account the interests of all stakeholders around the world.

“Fifa will keep in close contact with all stakeholders to assess and take the necessary steps to deal with the variety of issues we are facing. I count on the support of the whole football community moving forward.”