European football’s governing body Uefa has announced that it will distribute €236.5m ($257.2m) in relief funding to its 55 member associations to help them through the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The funding is being made available through Uefa’s HatTrick funding programme, which is usually paid to national federations, depending on meeting certain development conditions.
However, similar to Fifa’s release of its own $150m (€138m) support package last week, which saw it remove the barriers to access funds from the Forward 2.0 development programme, Uefa has allowed its members to set their own priorities in tackling the impact of the shutdown.
The funding, totalling €4.3m per member association, will be made available immediately.
Uefa president Aleksander Čeferin said: “Our sport is facing an unprecedented challenge brought about by the Covid-19 crisis. Uefa wants to help its members to respond in ways that are appropriate to their specific circumstances.
“I believe this is a responsible decision to help as much as we can; and I am proud of the unity that football is showing throughout this crisis. Without doubt, football will be at the heart of life returning to normal. When that time comes, football must be ready to answer that call.”
The HatTrick assistance programme was founded in 2004 as a way to redistribute central Uefa revenues to member associations based on meeting certain development criteria in investment, education and knowledge-sharing. Uefa claims that by 2024 the programme will have allocated €2.6bn to national governing bodies across the continent.
Meanwhile, Čeferin has informed national associations of a May 25 deadline for domestic leagues to communicate to Uefa their plans to restart domestic competitions.
In a letter quoted by Reuters, he wrote: “In the event that a domestic competition is to be prematurely terminated for legitimate reasons…Uefa would require the National Association to explain by 25 May 2020 the special circumstances justifying such premature termination and to select clubs for the Uefa club competitions 2020-21 on the basis of sporting merit in the 2019-20 domestic competitions.”