Fifa: Global soccer to lose $14.4bn due to Covid-19
Fifa, soccer’s world governing body, estimates that the sport has lost $14.4 billion globally due to the coronavirus pandemic and admits the figure is too big for it to “mitigate alone”.
Despite domestic and international soccer resuming in recent months, the global soccer market has still taken a huge financial hit at both levels.
In June, the Fifa council approved a $1.5 billion relief fund to help national soccer federations and confederations deal with the fallout from the pandemic.
Fifa revealed that 150 of its 211 member associations have applied for emergency Covid-19 grants.
Olli Rehn, the chairman of the Fifa Covid-19 relief plan steering committee, said: “It is a huge number and it covers the football economy in its entirety. It cannot be an exact figure, but it is an estimate of losses in 211 member associations.”
Tasked with heading up the Fifa task force set up to tackle the effects of the pandemic, Rehn said that the governing body had estimated the club game to be worth between $40 billion and $45 billion worldwide.
He added that whereas European clubs have lost the most money in total, the relative losses incurred elsewhere are much greater, with Latin America and Brazil in particular seriously affected.
Rehn, a former European commissioner and head of the bank of Finland, said that the $14.4 billion figure was based on the current scenario, where soccer has been restarting after its three-month hiatus earlier this year.
He said: “If you look at the breakdown of losses in absolute and relative terms, European clubs and member associations were most impacted in absolute figures. But relatively those outside Europe have struggled more, especially in Latin America, mainly as a result of revenue mix and season timing. Smaller countries that are dependent on Fifa will actually be hit least.”
Rehn added: “The loss under any scenario was too great for Fifa to mitigate alone. We are working very intensively with confederations to improve the situation.”
Fifa’s $1.5 billion relief plan covers all 211 member associations from six confederations, with $1 million for all members, as well as an additional grant of $500,000 for women’s soccer to be made available by January 2021.
Under the plan, the member associations will also be offered interest-free loans amounting to up to 35 per cent of their audited annual reserves, with a minimum loan entitlement of $500,000, and a maximum of $5 million.
Confederations, meanwhile, will receive $2 million, and will be entitled to $4 million in loans.
The 2020 Fifa Congress takes place online from Zurich on Friday.