Monday, January 18, 2021

FIFA estimates that Covid-19 will cost world soccer $ 11 billion

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FIFA, Olli Rehn
Olli Rehn

On Wednesday, FIFA calculated the cost of Covid-19 in world soccer at $ 11 billion in lost revenue.

The pandemic has already prompted more than 150 soccer associations to seek financial help from the $ 1.5 billion emergency relief fund established by soccer’s governing body.

Olli Rehn, chairman of the FIFA coronavirus steering committee, uncovered for the first time the true financial impact the virus has had on the game through chaos in match rosters, empty stadiums and lost revenue from television rights.

“It’s a huge number and it covers the entire football economy, including all the youth academies,” Rehn, a Finnish politician and governor of the Bank of Finland, told a news conference.

“This will also affect next year, there is a drag.

“That is why this Covid-19 relief fund does not have a time limit; they can apply for loans later if they need to,” said Rehn, who is also an independent vice chairman of the FIFA Governance Committee.

He said that while Europe was hit the hardest in terms of absolute cost, it was associations outside of Europe that “have suffered the most.”

“Particularly in South America, many because of their relative means and the spring to fall season,” he said.

Last month, the president of the European Clubs Association, Andrea Agnelli, predicted a loss of revenue of four billion euros in two years for his member clubs.

Each national association can apply for a FIFA grant of $ 1 million ($ 2 million for confederations) plus $ 500,000 for women’s football.

Loans are available to national associations up to a maximum value of $ 5 million ($ 4 million for confederations).

Rehn stressed that, unlike in the past, it was imperative that the money made available by FIFA “be used for the proper purposes”.

“Corruption has no place in football,” he said.

“Good governance is at the heart of this Covid-19 relief fund,” he said.

“We have made it clear to the member associations. I know that some member associations have complained about the rigorous compliance procedures, I am quite used to that. We require full compliance and have been working with world-renowned audit firms.

He gave some examples of how the relief fund is already being used, such as in Thailand, where it has helped restart national league competition, including coronavirus testing, but also implement video assistant referee (VAR) technology. .

Mexico spent its entire $ 1.5 million grant on its national women’s league, and in Brazil the funds are supporting the testing program in women’s competition.

And in Uruguay, the money has helped the federation rehire the staff it had been forced to fire, which was critical to its effective operation.

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