Mbabane: The wider football community stands to benefit from FIFA’s over E17 million windfall.
Eswatini Football Association (EFA) will receive the amount in two installments of USD500 000 (about E8.5 million) this month and another equal badge in January 2021. This was approved by the FIFA Council in a video conference which made decisions for the future of football with a view to responding to Covid-19 and helping football around the world in the face of the pandemic and its aftermath.
Each of FIFA’s 211 member associations- including EFA will receive the money as a basic solidarity grant to address the impact of the novel Coronavirus. The FIFA Council resolved that where Covid-19 related losses and needs have been addressed, EFA has the option of using the fund to mitigate needs within the wider football community, such as making payments to clubs or other stakeholders.
“Disbursements should be diverted only where the subsequent recipient has been clearly demonstrated to be in need and the principles of transparency should be applied,” FIFA warns. EFA is obliged to report such diversion of funds to it’s members via statutory audit and activity report for the year in question, clearly indicating the recipients and related amounts. FIFA funding comes with governance model to ensure effective oversight of the plan with strict controls on the use of funds and audit requirements- needless to mention, a swear word for local clubs.
The FIFA Council has already appointed Olli Rehn, the deputy chairman of the FIFA Governance Committee to lead the FIFA Relief Plan steering committee. Rehn is also the Governor of the Bank of Finland, a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank and a former vice-president of the European Commission. Ideally, the FIFA Covid-19 Relief Fund has been established in order to alleviate the financial distress caused by the impact of Covid-19, a disease that has killed over 540 000 people worldwide. FIFA directed that the USD1 million (about E17 070 000) per member association fund should be used for relevant losses that have been incurred or are expected to be incurred, as well as to address needs that have arisen or are envisaged to arise, as a result of Covid-19.
Specifically, areas in which the fund can be used include, but not limited to; the restart of competitions across all categories, the implementation of return-to-play protocols including testings, the payment of staff costs and hiring of staff where necessary and the maintenance of football infrastructure among others. However, FIFA acknowledge that operation football restart is dependent on the sanitary situation and permission from government policies. As announced by Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini, Eswatini will allow a gathering of at least 100 people from July 19. The country, as of Wednesday July 8 had 1 011 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 564 recoveries and 13 fatalities.
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