(Reuters) - FIFA will release operational funds for 2019 and 2020 amounting to $150 million to its member associations as the first step of a relief plan to help negate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global soccer body said on Friday.
Each of FIFA’s 211 member associations would receive $500,000 in the coming days as well as any remaining entitlements for 2019 and 2020, it added.
The coronavirus outbreak has brought soccer to a standstill and clubs have struggled to cope with the loss of revenue.
"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," FIFA President Gianni Infantino said here.
“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.”
FIFA said it would immediately release the second instalment of operational costs for 2020, originally due in July, and which under normal circumstances member associations would have only received in full upon fulfilment of specific criteria.
“This immediate financial assistance should be used to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19 on football in member associations, namely to meet financial or operational obligations that they may have towards staff and other third parties,” FIFA said.
Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis
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