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MONEY RESERVES: FIFA president Gianni Infantino plans to use the organisation’s cash to help out the game globally

MONEY RESERVES: FIFA president Gianni Infantino plans to use the organisation’s cash to help out the game globally

REUTERS

MONEY RESERVES: FIFA president Gianni Infantino plans to use the organisation’s cash to help out the game globally

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has promised to make available money from the world governing body's reserve funds as football faces up to the financial impact of the coronavirus shutdown.

With leagues around the world suspended and major tournaments including Euro 2020 postponed, individuals and organisations at every level of the game are counting the cost of the pandemic.

Infantino said FIFA must now look at the best way it can help mitigate the impact.

"FIFA enjoys a good reputation on the financial markets... This has helped us consolidate a solid foundation with large reserves," Infantino said. "But our reserves are not FIFA's money.

"It is football's money. So when football is in need, we must think what we can do to help... It is our responsibility and our duty."

Infantino said a consultation process has already begun to assess the financial impact across football with a view to creating a fund with an independent governance structure.

"You have to know that we will be there and we will find solutions together," Infantino added. "You will never be alone... (and) the world will know where the money goes and, equally important, why the money goes there."

Infantino said he has also requested that moneys due to federations later this year under the FIFA Forward Programme be paid in advance in order to help cash flows.

"If football manages to have a discussion where everyone contributes positively, and keeps in mind the global interest over the individual one, I am convinced our future can be better than our past, and we will be better prepared for the times ahead," Infantino said.

Additionally, FIFA said "flexibility and common sense must prevail" when it comes to redrawing football's calendar in relation not only to domestic leagues and international football, but also players' contracts and transfer windows.

"I am convinced football will play a key role to bring people back together when it's safe to play again and be with our friends and families in large groups," Infantino said. "Let's prepare for that moment... FIFA is with you in these difficult times, and together, we will win!"

Infantino also warned against re-starting football too early, telling FIFA's 211 member associations that such behaviour would be irresponsible.

"Our first priority, our principle, the one we will use for our competitions and encourage everyone to follow is that health comes first," Infantino said.

"I cannot stress this enough. No match, no competition, no league is worth risking a single human life. Everyone in the world should have this very clear in their mind."

Discussions are being held around the world over when and how to re-start the season while in some countries there are disagreements over whether players should face pay cuts.

"It would be more than irresponsible to force competitions to resume if things are not 100 per cent safe," Infantino said.

"If we have to wait a little longer we must do so. It's better to wait a little bit longer than to take any risks."