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Pinnick says FIFA’s $500 million donation is not COVID-19 palliative

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick

The President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Amaju Pinnick has disclosed that the $500 million donated by the Federation of International Football Association, FIFA, to member associations is not a palliative for COVID-19.

FIFA last month donated $150 million to member association and said the money is for immediate financial assistance to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19 on football member associations.”

FIFA’s 211 member associations would receive $500,000 as well as any remaining entitlements for 2019 and 2020.

Pinnick, in a thread on his official twitter handle today, May 5, disclosed that the money is the yearly statutory allocation given to member federations by FIFA for the smooth running of football and maintained that the money is for sports development in the country.

“As part of our efforts to remain transparent with financial dealings and because I have 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.

“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,” Pinnick said.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks with Amaju Melvin Pinnick, President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), during the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico City, Mexico, May 13, 2016. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

He further explained that the money which was supposed to be paid in July has now been paid in May to help members mitigate the effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

“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 & football landscape has changed and is making concerted efforts to mitigate the effects.

“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. 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.

“In the coming days, weeks and months, the Nigeria Football Federation board will be doing all we can to mitigate the pressures on Nigeria’s football due to this novel virus. As I have always tried to do, everything we do will be above board. Again, these funds aren’t relief funds. There are simply statutory allocations that come with strict guidelines on usage.

“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.

“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 Football Federation’s own external auditors usually go through these same accounts.

“While we are extremely grateful to FIFA for these statutory allocations, I’ll also stress that whenever more funds come from World Football’s governing body, the same process will be followed and details will be as transparent as we possibly can make them.

“Therefore I’d like to plead that unconfirmed stories & rumours should be disregarded and all enquiries about the federation can be forwarded to the NFF or to me for clarification,” he concluded.

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