FIFA to give members $150m of virus relief funds

FIFA President Gianni Infantino listens during a public debate with members of the Association of International Sports Press (AIPS).

FIFA will release 150 million U.S. dollars  (139 million euros) to its member football associations to help handle financial troubles caused by the coronavirus, the global governing body said on Friday. 

FIFA said that "all operational funding" for 2019 and 2020 would be distributed amongst the 211 member associations in the next few days "as the first step of a relief plan to assist the football community impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Each national governing body will receive 500,000 U.S. dollars, that FIFA says would normally be delivered "upon fulfillment of specific criteria," but will release those funds and any "remaining entitlement for 2019 and 2020."

The coronavirus outbreak has brought soccer to a standstill and clubs have struggled to cope with the loss of revenue. 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said, "It is FIFA's duty to be there and support the ones that are facing acute needs." 

"This starts by providing immediate financial assistance to our member associations, many of which are experiencing severe financial distress," he added. 

The funds come from the Forward 2.0 program, which was launched in 2016 and will provide 1.746 billion U.S. dollars in total over the 2019-2022 period. 

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