FIFA president Gianni Infantino unveiled a financial assistance plan to help member associations weather the storm during the coronavirus shutdown.
The football governing body, which infamously has $2.7 billion in cash reserves, announced that each member association will receive $500,000 in cash to begin offsetting the massive financial hit of the coronavirus pandemic. With leagues shut down all over the world, teams are being forced to pay players and staff with little to no sponsorship or gate income.
“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,” Infantino said in a statement released by FIFA on Friday. “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. Together with our stakeholders, we are we assessing the losses and we are working on the most appropriate and effective tools to implement the other stages of this relief plan.”
As part of the plan, FIFA is also advancing its regular operational costs payments to member associations, which is usually paid in July. It is also releasing these funds without necessitating fulfillment of its specific regulations.
After calling this move a “first step,” Infantino did not detail what the next steps in the financial assistance plan are, nor did he state there would be more action taken other than the aforementioned inference. Clearly FIFA is capable of doing much more to help, but this move is a healthy start to assist smaller leagues and clubs with less spending power survive the outbreak.