FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, is releasing around US$150 million to its national member associations whose finances have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The governing body for the sport of football in India, All of India Football Federation (AIFF) will also be benefited by the grant by FIFA.
Along with AIFF, each of FIFA’s 211 member countries would receive US$500,000 in the coming days plus any entitlement under the Forward 2.0 development program.
Gianni Infantino, the body’s president, described it as the “first step” in a wider plan to assist those struggling due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for the entire football community and, as the world governing body, it is Fifa’s duty to be there and support the ones that are facing acute needs,” he said.
“This starts by providing immediate financial assistance to our member associations, many of which are experiencing severe financial distress. This is the first step of a far-reaching financial relief plan we are developing to respond to the emergency across the whole football community.”
Fifa said the money represented operational funding for 2019 and 2020. Under normal circumstances, the associations would only receive full funding upon fulfilment of specific criteria such as the organisation of a set number of men’s, women’s and youth competitions, but was providing it to protect its members.
The Football Association, the English national body, announced earlier this month that it could lose up to UK£150 million (US$185 million) as a result of the pandemic. It has implemented wage cuts, initially for the next three months, with its top earners including England manager Gareth Southgate sacrificing 30 per cent of their salary.
Fifa said the next stages of its financial relief plan are being worked on and would be communicated in due course.