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Fifa approves Covid-19 relief plan

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George Kaudza Masina

The Fifa Council has unanimously approved $1.5 billion to help all member associations in responding to Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath.

During the video conference held on Thursday, the Fifa Council approved a number of things including the revised budget for the 2019-2022 cycle.

Following Fifa’s approval, it means member associations will receive universal solidarity grant of $1 million (about K739 million), and an additional grant of $500,000 (about K369 million) will be allocated specifically to women’s football.

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In addition, each confederation will receive a grant of $2 million. Apart from the grants, member associations will be able to apply for interest-free loans amounting to up to 35% of their audited annual revenues.

In the interest of solidarity, a minimum loan of $500,000 will be available and a maximum of $5 million. In addition, each confederation will have access to a loan of up to $4 million.

In an interview Friday, Fam general secretary, Alfred Gunda applauded Fifa for coming to the rescue of its member associations during the period of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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“This is huge and very significant. It complements the efforts that Fam initiated to bail out players and football officials through a monthly stipend and relief packs.

The solidarity grant will enable us roll out a cross cutting solution to alleviate the plight of the football family that is facing economic hardship due to the impact of Covid-19,” Gunda said.

“It also gives an opportunity to revive some of the football projects that were suspended. As it stands, we are now in a better position to devise a full scale survival and recovery package for the football industry in the wake of the adverse effects caused by Covid-19.”

Gunda said once the guidelines have been provided by Fifa, the Executive Committee will make a decision on how to apply the funds effectively and allocate the resources equitably.

Football analyst, George Kaudza-Masina said Fam should do a further situation analysis on the impact of Covid-19 on football.

“For effective implementation of its project, I suggest that Fam should carefully do analysis. It is good development to receive grants but if not properly used they can haunt us forever,” he said.

According to Fifa statement, 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 – with a minimum of 50% of released funds to be allocated to women’s football.

Fam already started disbursing monthly stipends to Super League players, official and referees to cushion them due to Covid-19 pandemic. Football is still suspended in the country.

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