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Fifa says Covid-19 won’t affect $1bn investment in women’s football

Jodie Taylor of England is challenged by Linda Sembrant of Sweden during the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup Third Place Match match (by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Fifa has reassured stakeholders that it will not cut a promised $1bn (€920m) investment in women’s football as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The governing body’s ruling Council agreed last October to double its investment in the women’s game between 2019 and 2022 with the amount to be taken from Fifa’s reserves and supplemented by $500m of additional funding taken from the budget for the current four-year cycle.

Players union Fifpro had signalled its concern that the coronavirus could represent an “existential threat” for the women’s games. A report by the union highlighted how many women’s teams are dependent on the largesse of their parent men’s clubs, making them particularly vulnerable to the current lockdown.

““We can confirm that this funding has already been committed by Fifa and will not be impacted by the current Covid-19 crisis,” a Fifa spokesperson told The Guardian.

“This funding will be invested into a range of areas in the women’s game including competitions, capacity building, development programmes, governance and leadership, professionalisation and technical programmes.”

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As well as ring-fencing the $1bn investment, Fifa gave assurances that the women’s game would be included in its plans to provide assistance to the wider football family during the crisis. It said it was working with the Professional Women’s Football Task Force and Fifa Confederation sub working groups to discuss the impacts of the pandemic.

“We can confirm that women’s football is being fully considered as part of this process in order to understand the various needs and impact on stakeholders within the women’s game,” the spokesperson added.

“Fifa is currently working on possibilities to provide assistance to the football community around the world, including women’s football. The exact format and details of this assistance are currently being discussed in consultation with Fifa’s member associations, the confederations and other stakeholders.”

Fifa has postponed all men’s and women’s international matches due to be played in June, as well as this year’s Under-20 and Under-17 Women’s World Cups due to the coronavirus pandemic. The postponement of this year’s Olympics and Euro 2020 have also forced the organisation to move next year’s Club World Cup, while Uefa has had to move the 2021 Women’s Euros to 2022.

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