By Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) is set for a financial boost after world football governing body, FIFA revealed it was releasing operational funds for 2019 and 2020 amounting to US$150 million to member associations.
The funds are the first step of a relief plan to help ameliorate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ZIFA, along with FIFA’s 210 member associations, would receive US$500 000 each in the coming days, as well as any remaining entitlements for 2019 and 2020, FIFA revealed.
The coronavirus outbreak has brought football to a standstill with clubs and national football associations struggling to cope with 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 in a statement.
“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 installment of operational costs for 2020, originally due in July, and which under normal circumstances member associations would have only received in full upon fulfillment of specific criteria.
The global body was categorical in how the funds should be used as the world battles COVID-19, which prompted nearly all football-related activities to be suspended in most parts of the world.
“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.
“The standard obligations and responsibilities in relation to the use of these funds as outlined in the Forward 2.0 Regulations remain fully applicable and will be subject to the standard audit and reporting process.
“This financial relief plan is possible thanks to the strong financial position that FIFA has been able to consolidate over the past four years. The next stages of the plan are currently being finalised and will be communicated in due course.”
The funding will go a long way in cushioning the debt-ridden Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA whose operations have also been hampered by the coronavirus.