How FIFA Tackles Challenges of Pandemic - FIFA Covid-19 Relief Plan
- Özgür Töre
FIFA Secretary General discusses world football disruption, the impact of FIFA COVID-19 relief plan and wokeness at the World Football Summit, where the football industry’s leading stakeholders meet to shape the future of the beautiful game.
FIFA’s Secretary General Fatma Samoura took part in the closing session of the World Football Summit Live in a wide ranging discussion that covered disruption, wokeness and the impact of the FIFA Covid-19 Relief Plan on global football.
In an interview led by South African broadcaster Carol Tshabalala, Fatma Samoura spoke about the effect the Covid-19 virus has had on football and the measures FIFA has taken to preserve and protect the game worldwide during this difficult time through the FIFA Covid-19 Relief Plan.
“The FIFA Covid-19 Relief Plan was created to help our MAs and the six Confederations tackle the challenges that the pandemic is throwing at them via the distribution of USD 1.5 billion in relief funds. The plan is truly ground-breaking and was designed to show football solidarity in action through a USD 1 million grant for each MA, so that they can protect and restart football. Additionally, they will all receive an extra USD 500,000, specifically allocated for women’s football and can apply for interest free loans of up to USD 5 million.”
Speaking about the topic of disruption the FIFA Secretary General emphasized her belief in it as an engine that can drive change and highlighted the many positive changes that FIFA has undergone since the crisis it experienced in 2015 including: the creation of an Audit and Compliance Committee, to advise, assist and oversee the FIFA Council in monitoring all of FIFA’s financial and compliance matters, as well as monitoring compliance with the FIFA Governance Regulations and the flow of development-related funds; the establishment of FIFA’s first-ever Compliance Sub-Division to protect the integrity of football; robust eligibility checks of candidates for all FIFA bodies and a bullet proof bidding process for the Men’s and Women’s FIFA World Cups.
On the topic of wokeness Fatma Samoura referred to FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s game-changing decision to appoint a woman as FIFA’s Secretary General and underlined that gender diversity is in action at FIFA, its committees and its 211 MAs. She stressed FIFA’s commitment to furthering women’s football with investments of 1 billion USD for the 2019-2022 cycle and the work undertaken by its Women’s Football Division, that has held over 500 online sessions with MAs worldwide, to support them in protecting the women’s game during the pandemic.
She also highlighted FIFA’s wokeness spirit through its recognition of the global problem of racism: “I believe that FIFA’s response to the tragic death of George Floyd earlier this year really showed that we have become a modern organization, with its finger on the pulse of issues that matter and is truly woke. Of course wokeness is an ongoing process but I am proud to say that at FIFA there is more diversity, understanding and willingness to use football as a tool for positivity than ever before.”
In concluding their discussion, the FIFA Secretary General referred to how the global pandemic has provided an opportunity to reshape the world of football saying: “Although this year has put the world into a state of semi-hibernation, I believe that it has simultaneously provided us all with an opportunity to awaken ourselves to what is important and to see how we can reshape the world of football, to make it more resilient to the kind of pandemic we are currently experiencing and bring positivity to people’s lives.