The National Association of Nigeria Footballers (NANF) disagreed with the position of the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Amaju Pinnick, who said that the $500,000 FIFA relief fund was not meant for COVID 19 palliatives.
Pinnick on Tuesday on his official Twitter handle stated that the funds were released for the development of youth football and as such will not be used other than what is meant for.
“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 added that the money is not meant for palliative as media suggested.
“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 the hardships that this novel coronavirus has and will cause. It is not palliative, as some have speculated.”
According to BSN Sports, NANF restates its position that the fund is meant for palliative from FIFA to the Nigeria Football Federation to settle its financial challenges during this COVID-19 pandemic. The Union insisted that the money must be applied to all relevant sectors according to the FIFA directive.
Meanwhile, FIFA in its letter to all Member Associations stated clearly that the money is meant to meet a financial obligation to clear staff salaries and other third parties due to economic hardship brought by civil-19, the letter reads in part: “This immediate financial assistance should be used to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19 on football in member associations, namely to meet financial or operational obligations that they may have towards staff and other third parties. The standard obligations and responsibilities in relation to the use of these funds as outlined in the Forward 2.0 Regulations remain fully applicable and will be subject to the standard audit and reporting process.” FIFA said in its letter.
FIFA also stated that it is working on appropriate ways of making provision for more relief funds to its member associations.
“The pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for the entire football community and, as the world governing body, it is FIFA’s duty to be there and support the ones that are facing acute needs,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “This starts by providing immediate financial assistance to our member associations, many of which are experiencing severe financial distress.
“This is the first step of a far-reaching financial relief plan we are developing to respond to the emergency across the whole football community. Together with our stakeholders, we are we assessing the losses and we are working on the most appropriate and effective tools to implement the other stages of this relief plan.”
To NANF, the use of the funds was twisted by Pinnick, according to the association, the NFF boss presented half-truth to divert attention from the primary objective of the release of the funds, insisting that the federation want to prepare grounds for its disappearance.
“Amaju Pinnicks position on his twitter handle is completely at variance with the FIFA president statement on the palliative. It is also important to make it clear to Nigerians that FIFA is not doing Nigeria any favour the allocations of these funds is a matter of right it has nothing to do with anybody’s special connection. Nigeria is a part-owner of the commonwealth of FIFA.” The statement reads.