ZURICH, Switzerland – The FIFA Council Thursday unanimously approved the FIFA COVID‑19 Relief Plan, which will make up to $1.5 billion (U.S.) to assist the global soccer community.

Convening by a videoconference call, he Council approved several measures through three stages, this global support.

In the first two stages, FIFA said in a press release that it provided for the immediate release of all Forward operational‑cost payments to member associations and for the opportunity to transform Forward development grants into COVID-19 operational relief funds – with a minimum of 50% of released funds to be allocated to women’s football .

In stage three, further financial support will be provided through a system of grants and loans (all currency is in U.S. dollars):

* Grants: A universal solidarity grant of $1 million will be made available to all member associations, and an additional grant of $500,000 will be allocated to women’s soccer. Each confederation also will receive a grant of $2 million.

* Loans: Member associations will be able to apply for interest-free loans amounting to up to 35 percent of their audited annual revenues. A minimum loan of $500,000 (U.S.) will be available and a maximum of $5 million. Each confederation will have access to a loan of up to $4 million.

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

* Governance model: 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 also will be established to supervise the administration of the scheme.

Olli Rehn, the deputy chairman of the FIFA Governance Committee, has been appointed to lead this committee. He is also the Governor of the Bank of Finland, a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank and a former Vice-President of the European Commission.

As a next step, the principles of the plan will be consolidated in a set of regulations to be put forward to the Bureau of the FIFA Council.

Revised budget

The members of the Council approved the 2021 annual budget and the revised budget for the 2019-2022 cycle, both of which were the result of a comprehensive assessment of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next Council meeting is scheduled for prior the 70th FIFA Congress, which will be held on Sept. 18. Both will be organized as virtual events held by videoconference.