Football around the world will lose out on almost $19.5 billion – a third of its value – in revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic, world governing body FIFA estimates.
Olli Rehn, the man who heads the steering committee for FIFA’s COVID-19 relief fund, set out the impact of coronavirus to the game on Wednesday.
“It’s a huge number and it covers the football economy in its entirety, including all youth academies,” he said.
“This will impact next year as well, there is a carry over.
“That is why this COVID19 relief fund is not time-bound – they may request loans later on if they need to.”
The relief plan allows national associations and regional confederations to apply for grants and interest-free loans.
FIFA has allocated $2.1b to help tackle the effects of the pandemic and Rehn said 150 of the 211 member associations had so far applied for funds.
Each national association can apply for a grant of $1.4m plus a further $700,000 ring-fenced for women’s football.
Confederations can apply for a grant of $2.8m.
Loans are available to national associations up to a maximum value of $6.8m, while confederations can apply for loans up to $A5.4m.
FIFA has encountered many issues in its past with funds being misused, but Rehn is confident the auditing processes being implemented will detect any corruption.
“Good governance is at the heart of this COVID-19 relief fund,” he said.
Corruption has no room in football. It’s essential that the money is being used for the right purposes.”
He gave some examples of how the relief fund is already being put into action.
In Thailand it has been used to help restart the national league competition, including coronavirus testing.
Mexico spent its full grant on its national women’s league.
In Brazil the funds are supporting the testing program in the women’s competition.
In Uruguay, the money has helped the federation re-hire staff it had been forced to lay off, who were crucial to its effective operation.