COVID-19: An unprecedented challenge
2021 at a glance

COVID-19: an unprece­dented challenge­

3 min. reading time

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, football took a back seat as the world came to terms with the unprecedented challenges we faced.

Last year, FIFA acted quickly and decisively to allocate funding to all member associations and confederations through the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan.

To prepare a relief plan worth USD 1.5 billion was truly unprecedented and historic in sport and is a testament to the unity of the football family in times of crisis.

Every member association is different and has been impacted differently by the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan is a flexible funding programme available to all our member associations. Continuing into 2021, this funding has allowed for the restart of football across the world, testing of players, officials and supporters at all levels of the game and the enacting of safeguarding measures to ensure football stakeholders are protected in a time of crisis.

The return of football­

FIFA developed a blueprint to ensure the safe return of international football. The Return to Football – International Match Protocol was the result of extensive consultation with the six confederations and other stakeholder representatives, and was shared with FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations.

Crucially, many member associations chose to use this funding to ensure their FIFA World Cup qualifiers could take place safely and on schedule. For some, this is a regular challenge, but now further complicated by COVID-19 and travel restrictions, it was imperative for FIFA to provide support.

Additionally, the competition regulations for FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers were adapted to reflect the new mandatory measures.

Women’s football at the forefront­

As part of the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan, USD 500,000 has been made available to every member association for use specifically in the women’s game.

These funds have been used to protect existing leagues and clubs, support diverse development projects and provide peace of mind for footballers at all levels of the game. It is imperative that women’s football does not take a back seat in times of difficulty and this Relief Plan has allowed the great work by our member associations in this area to continue.

A key requirement of FIFA’s COVID-19 Relief Plan funding is that member associations must include a strategic development plan for women’s football as part of their claims for funding, ensuring women’s football remains at the forefront of their long-term plans.

Support will continue­

The world is winning the battle against COVID-19 and FIFA is playing its part in that fight. However, we have seen that there is no quick fix to this global issue and FIFA is in this for the long haul.

Health remains the top priority and FIFA stays committed to support all 211 member associations and the confederation as the world continues its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, FIFA will continue teaming up with the World Health Organization to fight the coronavirus.

FIFA will continue to support all 211 member associations throughout the ongoing pandemic.