Sport  |  Football  

FIFA demands ‘audit compliance’ on $1.5 billion COVID-19 Relief package to NFF, others

By Gowon Akpodonor with agency reports |   30 July 2020   |   4:13 am  

• $1 million grant to protect, restart football
• Additional $500,000 for women’s football

The Bureau of the FIFA Council, yesterday, approved the COVID‑19 Relief Plan regulations. Under the terms of the plan, $1.5 billion is being made available to support all 211 FIFA member associations, and the six confederations to assist in the alleviation of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan was originally drawn up by the FIFA administration in close cooperation with the confederations, and subsequently approved by the FIFA Council on June 25 2020.

In FIFA’s message obtained by The Guardian yesterday, the regulations establish strict compliance and audit requirements, as well as clear loan repayment conditions, under the supervision of a steering committee.

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

In the first phase of the plan, the maximum amount of FIFA Forward operational‑cost entitlements to member associations was released.
For the second phase, member associations have now been given the ability to transform remaining FIFA Forward development project grants into COVID-19 operational relief funds – with a minimum of 50 percent of released funds to be allocated to women’s football.

Following yesterday’s approval by the Bureau of the Council, FIFA will implement the third phase of the plan, which completes the total amount of $1.5 billion being made available to the worldwide football community.

Phase 3 will comprise: Grants: a universal solidarity grant of $1 million being made available to all FIFA member associations, and an additional grant of $500,000 being allocated specifically to women’s football. In addition, a grant of $2 million is being made available to each confederation. The full amount will be made available by January 2021.

On Loans, all FIFA member associations will be able to apply for interest-free loans amounting to up to 35 percent of their audited annual revenues. In the interest of solidarity, a minimum loan entitlement of $500,000 and a maximum loan entitlement of $5 million will be available. In addition, each confederation will have access to a loan of up to $4 million.

Within the scope of the third phase, all FIFA 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.

In the coming months, FIFA will work closely with its member associations and with the confederations to assist them in the implementation of the plan through educational content and additional guidelines.

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