26th June 2020

FIFA Forward system to be used to distribute Covid-19 relief funding

The FIFA Forward football development system will be used to distribute Covid-19 relief funding to Member Associations, and specific Regulations governing use of such funding are being finalised in collaboration with an external legal counsel. However, FIFA is unlikely to have to pay out the US$1.5 million announced at yesterday’s Council meeting, due to the complicated approval process connected to receipt of such funding.

FIFA’s $1.5 billion calculation comprises: 

• The release of all 2019 and 2020 FIFA Forward football development grants to Member Associations ($152 million);
• Transformation of FIFA Forward specific project allocations into Covid-19 relief funds ($465 million);
• The three funds and two loans processes agreed at yesterday’s Council meeting ($885 million).

Member Associations and Confederations will have to complete an application process for access for each of three available funds, and two available loan facilities. The first of the three funds is a $1 million Solidarity Grant available to all 211 Member Associations, paid in two equal instalments in July 2020 and January 2021. But in order to receive both instalments, Member Associations must also apply for a Women’s Football Covid-19 Relief Grant by July.

In a ‘FIFA Covid-19 Relief Plan’ document (PDF below), FIFA outlines that in order to receive the second $0.5 million Solidarity Grant instalment, a Member Association must outline that it has spent the first instalment and the $0.5 million Women’s Football Covid-19 Relief Grant appropriately. In order to receive the first Solidarity Grant payment, an application form must be completed by July, subject to FIFA approval.

In order to receive the Women’s Football Covid-19 Relief Grant, which is essential in order to receive the second Solidarity Grant payment, a similar application process must be completed by July 2020. For FIFA’s six Confederations to receive $2 million each, the third and final promised fund, an application must be made by July 2020 which is subject to FIFA approval.

Member Associations can also apply for interest free loans of up to 35% of their audited annual revenues. The minimum loan that can be applied for is $0.5 million, and the maximum is $5 million. Interestingly, the above document outlines that the maximum that FIFA will pay out under this system is $532 million, which is much less than the $1.1 billion that it would have to pay out if all 211 Member Associations applied for the full $5 million loan. The six FIFA confederations are not subject to any such cap, as each can apply for a maximum loan of $4 million from a total pot of $24 million. 

Finnish politician Olli Rehn, a former Vice President of the European Commission, will lead a FIFA Covid-19 Relief Plan Steering Committee, which will supervise the administration of the scheme. Rehn is Deputy Chairman of the FIFA Governance Committee. All payments made by FIFA under the scheme will be made using existing FIFA Forward accounts.

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