Commentary: Football Vs COVID-19 Pandemic

Mamos Media

By Pa Assan Badjan

Football’s corridor of power finds its equilibrium being tested under this current climate hence the coronavirus pandemic.

However, a safe return to football may focus on both short / long term strategies and priorities ahead of any survey on sports financing for clubs and Association Executives.

Consequently this is a major challenge across the globe while the ability to go about those strategic steps and priorities will be paramount to survive the impact of the pandemic.

Advanced sports dispensation have been affected “big time,“ but one of the key fundamental lessons drawn from the hiatus is the necessary rethinking and perhaps a compelling situation of scaling out work principles, cutting down expenditure and planning ahead which calls for absolute self-stock taking, partnership and raise awareness among stakeholders.

FOOTBALL GOVERNING BODIES TACKLE COVID-19

Kudos to football’s governing bodies such as FIFA CAF and The Gambia’s football federation (GFF) for the financial bailout packages to Associations and clubs respectively.

It is the right call of helping the most popular sports on earth struggling in the face of the pandemic and its aftermath requiring close cooperation with representatives, and stakeholders.

Information garnered and confirmed about the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan, revealed as follows:

That across its three stages, this global support plan will make available up to US1.5 billion to assist the football community.

In the first two stages of the plan, FIFA provided for the immediate release of all forward operational-cost payment to all member Associations and subsequently, 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 football.

In stage three, approved by the Council, further financial support will be provided through a system of grants and loans.

GRANTS :
A universal solidarity grant of USD 1 million will be made available to all member Associations, and an additional grant of USD 500,000 will be allocated specifically to women’s football.

In addition, each Confederation will receive a grant of USD 2 million.

LOANS :
Member Associations will be able to apply for interest-free loans amounting up to 35% of their audited annual revenues. In the interest of solidarity, a minimum loan of USD 500,000 will be available and a maximum of USD 5 million.

In addition, each Confederation will have access to a loan of up to USD 4 million.

The FIFA release went on to state that ;
Both 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.

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.

CONFEDERATION OF AFRICAN FOOTBALL CAF

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and following the rescheduling and cancellation of major Competitions and other important events e.g. the 42nd CAF Ordinary General Assembly and the 2020 CAF AWARD.

The Ordinary General Assembly is now pushed to December 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

As per, the Elective General Assembly will be held on 12 March 2021 while the 2020 CAF AWARD is Cancelled, although major partners Pickalbatros Group, have reaffirmed their contractual commitment towards the next two (2) editions.

CAF COVID-19 FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO MEMBER ASSOCIATIONS

CAF has allocated an additional USD16.2 million assisting member Associations to mitigate challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the report have it that each member Association will be entitled to USD 300,000.

THE GAMBIA FOOTBALL FEDERATION GFF PAYS D8,250,000 : 00 TO CLUBS, REGIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

Following the GFF declaration of the 2019/20 National League as null and void due to the State of Public emergency declared by the Government of The Gambia amidst the Corona virus pandemic, the country’s football epic governing body has since provided financial support to clubs from the COVID-19 relief fund as well as earmarked to improve conditions at football fields.

Meanwhile the GFF have received the Operational cost support of USD 500,000 as earlier promised by FIFA.

The GFF has released that the Operational cost is normally received in July upon successful completion of a ten point Forward 2.0 criteria and meant for the the following :

Governance, Structure and Administration, Youth National Teams, Domestic League Competitions, Permanent Administrative and Technical Staff, Financial Management (Audit ) Website and other Communication Platforms, Training for key football Stakeholders ( Administrators, Technical Staff, Volunteers, etc )

Accordingly the GFF Executive Committee at its special Executive Committee meeting held on 9th May 2020, has approved the following payments :

  • Forty-seven (47) clubs to be paid the second operational cost of D100,000 : 00 each, at the tune of D4,700, 000 : 00.
  • Forty- seven (47) clubs to be paid advance payment for COVID-19 Support of D50,000 : 00 each, at a tune of D2,350,000 : 00
  • Seven (7 ) Regional Football Associations at D100,000 : 00 each, at a tune of D700,000 : 00 for the Operational Support.
  • Referees indemnity payment for 1st and 2nd Division (Male and Female) at a tune of D500,000 : 00.
    The release indicate that the total amount of D8, 250,000 : 00 ( Eight Million, Two Hundred And Fifty Thousand Dalasi ) has been disbursed to the clubs and Associations through their respective bank accounts.
    The Federation have always maintained that through its appropriate committees studying of the situation, they shall provide further support to the football family upon receipt of the promised COVID-19 Relief Fund from FIFA.

GFF CALL-OFF THE PROPOSED COVID-19 RELIEF FUND EXTRA ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The Gambia Football Federation has announced that the proposed Extra Ordinary General Assembly earlier scheduled for Saturday 18 July 2020 at the Football Hotel in Yundum is been postponed until a later date.

The development is necessitated by the delay in FIFA releasing the COVID-19 Relief Support Regulation which is a requirement before an approval of the COVID-19 budget.

COMMENTARY FOR MAMOS SPORTS
PA ASSAN BADJAN

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