By Neto Baptiste
Some player-related expenditure incurred by clubs throughout the duration of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic may not be covered by the FIFA gifted Covid-19 Relief Funds.
This is according to General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Rohan Hector, who revealed that during a recent meeting hosted by the sport’s world governing body, the topic was heavily discussed and FIFA was clear that the allocated funds must not be used outside of the stipulated guidelines.
“The president and I had to go on a Covid-19 relief follow up call with FIFA where they had concerns about some of the disbursements taking place around the world and in the wider Caribbean community, and they were very clear that some of these expenditures that are related directly to a player … is not within the scope of what these things are for and that is what we were told and as a matter of a fact, the follow up call was very firm about that,” he said.
Although the GS did not go into details, he encouraged clubs to dialogue with the ABFA on the best way forward regarding the issue of player salaries and other player-related payments concerning the utilising of the allocated FIFA funds.
He reminded also that clubs stand to benefit from over US $70,000 worth of equipment.
“In addition to that $8,000 [ECD] we are spending a further $80,000 US on PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] like water bottles, water bottle carriers, football equipment, thermometer guns, gloves, and all of these things to make sure that we can correctly and effectively mitigate against the impact of Covid and the spread of Covid when the health authorities give us the go ahead, and the clearance that Covid would not impact football in a negative way,” Hector said.
Meanwhile, ABFA president Everton Gonsalves, confirmed that the Antigua and Barbuda Football Referees Association (ABFRA) will benefit from the FIFA relief initiative.
“They played a significant role during the 2019/20 domestic season and have always made their impact felt and so, under my administration you could never imagine that referees will be left out. Whatever is due to them and whatever will guide them through these difficult times this administration will make sure that is paid,” he said.
The ABFA has revealed that they have so far received US $500,000 of the US $1 million FIFA Covid-19 Relief funds while they have also received the US $500,000 geared towards women’s football.