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FIFA estimates COVID-19 pandemic to cost football $14 billion in 2020

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FIFA has admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cost club football $14 billion in 2020 worldwide, around one third of its value.

Olli Rehn, who heads the FIFA committee set up to tackle the effects of the global pandemic, said that FIFA, along with financial consultants, have approximated the club game to be worth between $40 billion and $45 billion around the world.

Rehn has admitted that FIFA has taken a huge hit in 2020 due to the global pandemic.

He said the figure of $14 billion was based on the current situation, where football is slowly restarting after a three-month hiatus earlier this year, but it would be a “different ball game” if the pandemic did not subside soon.

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“Football has been hit very hard by the coronavirus pandemic,” Rehn, a former European Union commissioner and governor of the Bank of Finland said.

It puts the value of the club and national team game in 2020 at $46bn (£35.6bn) before international club football such as the Champions League is taken into account, and believes $14bn of that will be lost because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s a huge number and it covers the football economy in its entirety, including all youth academies. This will impact next year as well, there is a carry over. That is why this COVID-19 relief fund is not time-bound – they may request loans later on if they need to.”

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“It has created plenty of turmoil at different levels with some professional clubs facing very serious difficulties. I’m also very concerned about youth academies and lower division clubs.”

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“The critical thing will be whether a vaccine will be developed and can be used and that we have medical and other means to fully contain and tame the pandemic, and that is uncertain,” he said.

Rehn said that football in South America had been hit badly, while Africa and Asia were also a major cause for concern.

Africa has suffered a drastic loss in finances due to COVID-19.

Confederations can apply for a grant of $2m. Loans are available to national associations up to a maximum value of $5m, while confederations can apply for loans up to $4m.

Each national association can apply for a grant of $1m (almost £750,000), plus a further $500,000 ring-fenced for women’s football.

FIFA Chairman Gianni Infantino will be looking for solutions to tackle the current crisis.

Mexico spent its entire $1.5mn grant on its national women’s league, and in Brazil the funds are supporting the testing programme in the women’s competition.

In Uruguay, the money has helped the federation re-hire staff it had been forced to sack, who were crucial to its functioning.

FIFA has allocated $1.5 billion to help battle the after-effects of the pandemic and Rehn said 150 of the 211 member associations had so far applied for funds.



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