COVID-19: FIFA Money Not Relief Fund, Nor Palliative Says Pinnick

President, Nigerian Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, has explained that the operational fund from football’s governing body FIFA for 2019 and 2020 is neither a relief fund nor palliative.

The NFF is set to receive $500,000 from FIFA as part of efforts to combat the economic effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pinnick said in a long thread on Twitter that the NFF would follow the rules of disbursing them as FIFA’s vigorous auditing processes is still be in effect.

He also hinted that any decision taken about football in Nigeria would be taken in line with the directives of the sports and health ministries.

“As part of our efforts to remain transparent with financial dealings and because I’ve seen a few enquiries about FIFA’s release of funds to member associations, I feel it’s my duty to update on how things stand. Every year, there are statutory allocations that federations receive from FIFA, for the smooth running of football in different federations. However, these funds come with statutory specific areas of obligations. In other words, if FIFA gives you money for youth development, you cannot use that money for anything else,” Pinnick wrote on Twitter.

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“What FIFA has done now, though, is to release funds that were meant to be released later in the year, earlier. This is part of FIFA’s plans to help ameliorate hardships that this novel coronavirus has and will cause. It is not a palliative, as some have speculated.

“It simply means the different federations are, in a manner of speaking, getting July’s allowances in May. Why? Because world football governing body recognises how much the economic and football landscape has changed and is making concerted efforts to mitigate the effects.

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“Under normal circumstances, federations would have received these monies only after stringent financial regulations had been met. But these are difficult times and the normally stringent processes have been partially relaxed to enable football federations struggling, to meet up their financial obligations.

“Therefore the release of these funds is to enable football federations around the world continue their operational obligations to staff and other third parties.”

The NFF boss added, “Even though these funds are going to be released early, all federations will still be required to follow the rules of spending them. FIFA hasn’t waived those rules. If a federation gets its allocation, it is expected to spend them on agreed parameters. FIFA’s vigorous auditing processes will still be in effect.

“Hopefully, these trying times will be behind us soon and we can all get on with our lives. Let me quickly stress here that any decision taken about football in Nigeria will be taken in line with the directives of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Federal Ministry of Health.

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“It is pertinent to note that every fund received by the federation goes through a stringent financial process of checks and balances before the funds are spent. Any monies received by the federation from FIFA, CAF or sponsors, are reported to the Honourable Minister of Sports with a detailed cover letter from these sources about spending regulations and requirements. So, aside FIFA auditing our accounts, the federation’s own external auditors usually go through these same accounts

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