Fifa approves $1.5bn Covid-relief plan with strict compliance requirements

FIFA president Gianni Infantino (by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Bureau of the Fifa Council has approved a $1.5bn (€1.27bn/£1.15bn) coronavirus relief package that has cleared the way for it to distribute grants worth $1m to each of its member associations.

The global governing body for football said the package, which is designed to support men and women’s soccer and grassroots football through grants and loans, would come with “strict compliance and audit requirements”.

All of Fifa’s 211 member associations will receive a $1m grant and be able to access interest-free loans worth a maximum of $5m. An additional grant worth $500,000 is being specifically allocated to women’s football.

Each of the six confederations will also be able to access a further grant of £2m and loans worth up to $4m.

The regulations establish strict compliance and audit requirements, as well as clear loan repayment conditions, under the supervision of a newly formed steering committee.

A supporting document indicates member associations have the right to apply for loans amounting to 35 per cent of their total annual revenues. Both confederations and member associations will also be expected to file a report on the use of their grants before January 2021.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino said: “This relief plan is a great example of football’s solidarity and commitment in such unprecedented times.”

“I would like to thank my colleagues of the Bureau of the Council for approving the decision to move forward with such an important initiative for the benefit of all member associations and confederations.”

Fifa said all member associations will be able to use the funds for activities such as the restart of competitions, the implementation of return-to-play protocols, the participation of national teams in competitions, the hiring and re-hiring of staff, the maintenance of football infrastructure, and general administration and operating costs.

The governing body said it would work closely with its member associations and confederations in the coming months to assist them in the implementation of its relief plan.

The plan was originally drawn up by the Fifa administration in close cooperation with the confederations, and subsequently approved by the the Fifa Council on June 25.