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BFA receives shot in the arm

FIFA members got a shot in the arm after the world football governing body unanimously approved a COVID-19 relief plan. According to a statement from FIFA, the council unanimously approved the relief plan, which was designed by FIFA in close cooperation with representatives of the confederations. Across its three stages, the global support plan will make available up to US$1.5 billion to assist the football community.

It says in the first two stages of the plan, FIFA provided for the immediate release of all forward operational‑cost paymentsto member associations, and subsequently for the opportunity to transform forward development grants into COVID-19 operational relief funds with a minimum of 50 per cent of released funds to be allocated to women’s football. In stage three, approved by the council on Friday, further financial support will be provided through a system of grants and loans.

With regard to grants, the statement  says a universal solidarity grant of US$1 million will be made available to all member associations, and an additional grant of US$500 000 will be allocated specifically to women’s football. In addition, each confederation will receive a grant of US$2million.

Furthermore member associations will be able to apply for interest-free loans amounting to up to 35 per cent of their audited annual revenues. In the interest of solidarity, a minimum loan of US$500 000 will be available and a maximum of US$5 million. In addition, each confederation will have access to a loan of up to US$4 million.

Both grants and loans can be directed by member associations to the wider football community in their respective countries, including clubs, players, leagues, or others that have been affected.

Furthermore FIFA says 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 conditions. A FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan steering committee will also be established to supervise the administration of the scheme.

Sunday Standard sport journalist Botlhale Koothopile commended  the FIFA move to help members, saying the funds would be availed to affiliated FA’s across the world. “These monies, which are from FIFA Forward, will be used as COVID-19 relief funds,” he said

 Koothopile however said in Botswana where monies for women football were used to advance the interests of men football, it would be interesting to see if women would reap any benefits from the funds. “Remember that of the more than P500 000 FIFA gives to BFA for women’s leagues, only P30 000 goes to women football. This P30 000 does not go to teams or leagues, but rather goes to the football structures at BFA,” he said.

He said the BFA also claimed that it payed for referees for women football, but it was yet to be proved. In a nutshell, he said women football monies were diverted to general football administration.

“One would therefore have to pay close attention to see if indeed women football will reap anything from the funds.”

He said the funds could boost women football.

“It is now up to women football to stand and ask BFA questions,” he said. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Anastacia Sibanda

Location : GABORONE

Event : INTERVIEW

Date : Jun 29 Mon,2020

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