FIFA eyes ‘strict compliance’ for virus relief plan

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said the relief plan is a great example of football's solidarity and commitment in such unprecedented times. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, file)
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Updated 29 July 2020

FIFA eyes ‘strict compliance’ for virus relief plan

  • FIFA’s 211 member associations will receive a $1 million grant “to protect and restart football”

ZURICH, Switzerland: FIFA’s $1.5 billion coronavirus relief plan to revive the sport and help national associations stay afloat will come with “strict compliance and audit requirements,” the governing body of soccer said Wednesday.
The massive spending plan aims to help men’s and women’s professional soccer as well as youth and grassroots football through grants and loans.
“This relief plan is a great example of football’s solidarity and commitment in such unprecedented times,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.
The regulations establish appropriate use of funds and loan repayment conditions under the supervision of a newly created steering committee.
FIFA’s 211 member associations will receive a $1 million grant “to protect and restart football” and can access interest-free loans of up to $5 million. Each member association will also receive an additional $500,000 grant for women’s soccer.
Each of the six soccer confederations will also receive a grant of $2 million and have access to a loan of up to $4 million.
FIFA expects to make all of the funds available by January 2021. Some funds will be released this month.
The loans for member associations are limited to 35% of their audited annual revenues.
FIFA said in a statement that associations “will be able to use the funds for activities such as the restart of competitions, the implementation of return-to-play protocols, the participation of national teams in competitions, the hiring and re-hiring of staff, the maintenance of football infrastructure, and general administration and operating costs.”
Applicants must file reports proving their pandemic-related losses or needs and must specify how they plan to use the funds.
For women’s grants, associations must commit “to including the development of a women’s football strategy or the inclusion of a women’s football strategy with relevant details in its strategic plan.”
“Each member association that applies for the Women’s Football Grant has to subsequently provide FIFA with a report on the use of the Women’s Football Grant and the delivery on respective commitments signed and agreed with FIFA,” the regulations state.
The $1.5 billion total breaks down as $885 million in grants and loans, and it includes $617 million approved earlier this year in liquidity injections and additional support to member associations.


Golf Saudi strikes partnership with the Club Managers Association of Europe

Updated 30 November 2020

Golf Saudi strikes partnership with the Club Managers Association of Europe

  • Educational program will be tailored to support Saudis’ career pathway in and through golf

RIYADH: Golf Saudi and the Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE) have signed an ambitious new partnership to work together to roll out a certified Arabic language educational program. This is the first of its kind, aimed at encouraging Saudi nationals to pursue a career in golf.

CMAE will set up an education platform in Saudi Arabia, drawing on its industry-renowned approach, to assist Golf Saudi in developing the domestic golf talent pool and ultimately creating new Saudi national certified club managers.

The association is a nonprofit making professional body with members involved in the management of sports clubs, health and fitness clubs and leisure, city and dining clubs in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Commenting on the partnership, CMAE’s director of education, Torbjörn Johansson, said: “Golf Saudi’s pursuit of creating a progressive domestic golf market is asking some big questions of the industry and leading organizations. The domestic plans to not only train up but also equip aspiring talent are a major step and CMAE is proud to be a partner and on-hand to provide the tools and analytic expertise.” 

The CEO of Golf Saudi, Majed Al-Sorour, said: “Our partnership with CMAE is incredibly important for Golf Saudi, but also for the golf industry at large. This is only possible if we are able to upskill our domestic workforce. Golf is good for business and can provide a direct boost to the Kingdom’s GDP, as well as providing lucrative jobs and creating new enterprise. These are exciting times for the golf industry in Saudi Arabia and this agreement with the CMAE helps us to develop a world-class training program that will support young Saudi adults in unlocking the full potential of their future career paths within the golf industry.”

Golf Saudi, a subsidiary of the Saudi Golf Federation, is committed to delivering a national development program that transforms the golfing landscape and aims to create 3,700 jobs by 2030.

Since its formation in 2018, Golf Saudi has embarked on an ambitious national golf strategy, which has worked to support the Kingdom’s impressive Vision 2030. This agreement recognizes the importance of training the next generation of Saudis to meet expected future demand, particularly from international tourists, enhancing Saudi Arabia as a golfing destination.