FIFA Council unanimously approves COVID-19 relief plan

June 25, 2020

  • FIFA to make a total of $ 1.5 billion available to football

  • Faced with the pandemic, the Council approves changes to the international match calendar

  • Council also approves a revised budget for the 2019-2022 cycle

The FIFA Council met today via videoconference and took important decisions for the future of football, the most important of which was the selection of Australia and New Zealand as hosts for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™.

The Council approved several measures to respond to COVID-19 and to help football around the world face the pandemic and its consequences, namely:

FIFA COVID-19 Contingency Plan

The Council unanimously approved the FIFA COVID-19 Contingency Plan, which was designed by the FIFA administration in close collaboration with representatives of the confederations. In three stages, this comprehensive support plan will provide up to $ 1.5 billion to help the football community.

During the first two stages of the plan, FIFA provided for the immediate release of all payments of Forward operational costs to member associations and, thereafter, the possibility of turning Forward development grants into operational COVID-relief funds. 19 – with a minimum of 50% of the funds released to be allocated to women’s football.

In the third stage, approved by the Council today, additional financial support will be provided through a system of grants and loans:

o Subsidies: 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.

o Loans: Member associations will be able to apply for interest-free loans up to 35% of their annual audited income. For the sake of solidarity, a minimum loan of USD 500,000 will be available and a maximum of USD 5 million. In addition, each confederation will have access to a loan of up to $ 4 million.

  • Grants and loans can be directed by member associations to the wider football community in their respective territories, including clubs, players, leagues or others who have been affected.

o Governance model: 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 terms. A FIFA COVID-19 Emergency Plan Steering Committee will also be established to oversee the administration of the program.

Olli Rehn, vice-chairman of the FIFA Governance Committee, has been appointed to head this committee. He is also Governor of the Bank of Finland, member of the Board of Governors of the European Central Bank and former Vice-President of the European Commission.

In a next step, the principles of the plan will be consolidated in regulations which will be submitted to the Bureau of the FIFA Council.

Revised budget

Council members approved the 2021 annual budget and revised budget for the 2019-2022 cycle, both of which are the result of a comprehensive assessment of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

International matches calendar

Following an extensive consultation process with confederations and stakeholders across the football landscape, the FIFA-Confederations COVID-19 Working Group has agreed to propose five proposals related to the international calendar of men’s matches following the pandemic. Here are the five proposals that were unanimously approved by the Council today:

o move the intercontinental play-offs for the 2022 FIFA World Cup ™ from March 2022 to June 2022;

o postpone the September 2020 window for AFC, CAF, Concacaf and OFC;

o proceed with the September 2020 window as planned for CONMEBOL and UEFA, subject to continuous monitoring of the situation;

o extend the October 2020 and November 2020 windows for UEFA by one day in order to facilitate the running of three matches instead of the current two; and

o extend the June 2021 window for the AFC, CAF, Concacaf and OFC by seven days in order to facilitate the running of four matches instead of the current two.

The FIFA-Confederations COVID-19 Working Group and Stakeholder Working Group will continue their work to monitor the situation in each confederation, discuss alternative solutions and, if necessary, submit further proposals to the FIFA Council.

The FIFA Council also supported a pan-arab tournament to play in 2021: an invitation-only competition for men’s national teams to be contested by Arab nations in Africa and Asia. It will only involve home players and will be played outside of the international match schedule. The tournament, to be held in Qatar from December 1 to 18, 2021, will be hosted by the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC and will allow the organizers to use the facilities and conduct operations which are also planned for the upcoming FIFA World Cup. FIFA 2022 ™. .

In addition, FIFA’s decision-making body has approved the update Regulations for Olympic football tournaments Tokyo 2020, adapting them to the new dates from July 21 to August 7, 2021 and including the adoption of VAR technology. The eligibility rules for players participating in the men’s tournament remain unchanged (ie players born on or after January 1, 1997, with the exception of a maximum of three players per participating team).

Regulatory framework

o Following the creation of a dedicated working group by the Football Stakeholders Committee, whose work was also approved by the Player Status Committee, the Council was awarded a proposal to modify the FIFA Regulations governing the application of the Statutes, in particular with regard to the eligibility of players to play for national teams.

The changes include, among others, new provisions relating to exceptions to the general ban on changing associations and access to national team football for stateless players. The Council recommended that the statutory changes be submitted to the FIFA Congress for approval.

o The new FIFA Anti-Doping Regulations – in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code recently approved by WADA – have also been approved by the Council and will enter into force on 1 January 2021.

The next Council meeting is scheduled for September, ahead of the 70th FIFA Congress, to be held on September 18, 2020. Both will be organized as virtual events via videoconference.

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