The FIFA General Council has unanimously approved a FIFA COVID‑19 Relief Plan, which will make available up to USD 1.5 billion to assist the football community.
In the first two stages of the plan, FIFA provided for the immediate release of all Forward operational‑cost payments to member associations and, subsequently, for the opportunity to transform Forward development grants into COVID-19 operational relief funds.
Notably this money has to be allocated with a minimum of 50% going to women’s football .
In stage three, approved by the Council yesterday, further financial support will be provided through a system of grants and loans.
A universal solidarity grant of USD 1 million will be made available to all member associations, and an additional grant of USD 500,000 will be allocated specifically to women’s football. In addition, each confederation will receive a grant of USD 2 million.
This means that the FAI will be able to apply for 1.5 million in Grant aid from FIFA, in addition to the estimated €10 million it will receive from the Government Sport Relief Fund here.
That minimum of €500,000 towards the Women’s game should be a significant boost for the Women’s National League.
Interest Free Loans
Member associations will also be able to apply for interest-free loans amounting to up to 35% of their audited annual revenues.
In the FAI’s case this could have been worth an additional €15 million of an interest free loan but ‘in the interests of solidarity’ a maximum amount of €5 million has been imposed.
Nevertheless this could, if allowed given the financial strains of the past year, be used to lessen the repayment burden on existing loans.
Both grants and loans can be directed by member associations to the wider football community in their respective territories, including clubs, players, leagues, or others that have been affected.
To ensure effective oversight of the plan, there will be strict controls on the use of funds, audit requirements, as well as clear loan repayment conditions.
A FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan steering committee will also be established to supervise the administration of the scheme.
Olli Rehn, the deputy chairman of the FIFA Governance Committee, has been appointed to lead this committee. He is also the Governor of the Bank of Finland, a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank and a former Vice-President of the European Commission.