World football governing body Fifa has warned against abuse of Covid-19 Relief Plan funds which it will disburse to member associations today to help in the alleviation of the financial impact of the pandemic.
Under the plan, each member association will get $1 million (about 750 million) grant to protect and restart football and an additional $500 000 (about K375 million) specifically for women’s football.
The world football governing body yesterday released regulations on how the funds should be used.
The regulations establish strict compliance and audit requirements under the supervision of a steering committee.
Reads the regulations in part: “Each member association will be entitled to receive a solidarity Grant in an aggregate amount of $1 million (about K750 million) solidarity grant, payable in two instalments of $500 000 (about K375 million) each as follows: a first instalment of $500 000 of the solidarity grant tranche one as of July 2020, and a second instalment of $500 000 (K375 million) of the solidarity grant as of January 2021. Member associations will be entitled to receive a women’s football Grant of $500 000 (K375 million) of the women’s football grant payable as of July 2020. Any funding granted to a beneficiary pursuant to these regulations shall only be used as permitted by these regulations.
“The Fifa general secretariat shall monitor the proper use of Funding in accordance with the terms of the relevant funding contract and compliance of the beneficiaries with their obligations under these regulations and the relevant funding contract.”
According to Fifa, “relevant losses due to Covid-19 include, but are not limited to, lost revenues due to the pandemic while relevant needs may include, but are not limited to, the use of funding for the restart of competitions across all categories; the implementation of return-to-play protocols, including testing; the participation of national teams of all age categories in restarted competitions; the payment of staff costs and (re-)hiring of essential staff where necessary; the maintenance of footballing infrastructure; and the payment of general administration and operating costs where the situation requires.”
But Fifa has advised member associations to ask for clarification where they are not clear on how to use the funds.
“Where there is reasonable doubt as to whether an intended use of funding is permissible, beneficiaries are required to request written confirmation from Fifa before using relevant funding as intended,” reads the regulations.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) already rolled out its first phase of Covid-19 Relief Fund in which it is paying TNM Super League players, coaches, women’s football players and referees not less than K40 000 per month.
The association has also partnered Rab Processors Limited to provide food packs to be distributed to regional league clubs.
However, there has been an outcry from other affiliates and Super League clubs who feel they have been left out.
But FAM president Walter Nyamilandu warned on the need to adhere to the conditions set by Fifa on how to use the funds.
“It is worth noting that this $1.5 million (about K1.1 billion) is a one-off intervention by Fifa towards Covid-19 to its member associations hence the need to use the funds prudently bearing in mind that the pandemic is most likely to persist for a long time. There are also strict funding guidelines that we have to follow so it’s not free for all as it is perceived by other quarters,” he said.
Nyamilandu thanked Fifa for releasing the funding.
He said: “The release of funds this month end is timely because we have been using operational funds all this time while waiting for Fifa Special Covid-19 funds.”