Friday 14 January 2022, 09:00

Eighty Palestinian clubs benefit from FIFA COVID-19 funding

  • Funds used to help clubs pay for Covid-19 tests and health protocols

  • Players’ wages also covered

  • Women’s football also benefits

Palestine has used funding from FIFA's COVID-19 Relief Plan to help 80 professional and grass roots clubs recover from the financial impact caused by the pandemic over the last two years. The Palestinian FA (PFA) says that funding was used to help the clubs start the 2020-21 championship which took place under the slogan "Health First."

The grants were used to cover the costs of Covid-19 tests and implementing the health protocols, pay the players' salaries, in the case of professional clubs, and transportation. This was especially important as revenue from sponsors was dramatically reduced during the pandemic.

FIFA’s groundbreaking COVID-19 Relief Plan, approved by the FIFA Council in June 2020, made USD 1.5 billion available to support all 211 MAs and the six confederations to help alleviate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MAs were each entitled to a universal solidarity grant of USD 1 million, divided into two instalments, and an additional grant of USD 500,000 allocated specifically to women’s football.

Palestinian clubs benefit from FIFA COVID-19 funding

"We thank FIFA for this initiative in the difficult times faced due to Covid-19 breakout," said the PFA General Secretary Firas Abu Hilal

"This grant allowed the clubs to cover their main expenses, especially players’ and coaches’ salaries, covering medical requirements, and purchasing the needed equipment for participation in the competitions, at a time that the sponsors stopped their support and the revenue sources for clubs stopped as well."

The PFA agreed to divide the funding between the clubs in the Palestine Pro League as well as those competing in regional leagues in various governorates.

The Covid-19 pandemic interrupted the Palestinian 2019-20 season in March 2020 and the championship was finally completed three months later. The delayed 2020-21 season got under way at the end of October 2020 and was completed in April last year.

Workshop for female coaches and administrators in Palestine

In the case of women's football, the PFA said it used the funds to set up preparatory training camps for the under-20 and under-17 women's teams and to re-start the women's seven-a-side league, featuring eight clubs, and the senior women's league, which features 10 clubs.

It will also help fund the setting up of two under-14 futsal leagues and the staging of a workshop for female coaches and administrators.