Gianni Infantino, the Fifa president. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Fifa, world governing body for football, has announced the release of a total of $150 million (Dhs 548 million) to all its member associations to help them handle financial troubles caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Late on Friday, the global governing body announced that an initial amount of $500,000 will be handed out to all of its 211 member associations in the next few days to cover “all operational funding” for 2019 and 2020.

Fifa President Gianni Infantino also assured that the amount – released under its ‘Forward 2.0 development programme - is among the “first steps” in a wider plan to assist those struggling due to the worldwide pandemic.

“The pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for the entire football community and, as the world governing body, 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,” Infantino had noted in his address while announcing the relief package, late on Friday.

Each national governing body will receive $500,000, that Fifa says would normally be delivered “upon fulfullment of specific criteria”, but will release those funds and any “remaining entitlement for 2019 and 2020” in the near future. Among the criteria will be the organisation of a set number of men’s, women’s and youth competitions by the national associations.

Fifa had earlier last month announced the creation of a football aid fund, the details of its operation or scope are yet to be made public. But, Friday’s announcement is part of the Fifa’s Forward 2.0 programme that was launched in 2016 with a provision of $1.746 billion till 2022.

The English Football Association (FA) had announced earlier this month that it could lose up to £150 million as a result of the pandemic. Since then, the FA has already implemented wage cuts, initially for the next three months, with its top earners, including England manager Gareth Southgate, agreeing to sacrifice 30 per cent of their salary.