FIFA Council approves pan-Arab test tournament, extended international window in June 2021

In a statement, FIFA said the invitational competition for men's national teams will be contested by Arab nations from Africa and Asia.

It will involve home-based players only and be played outside the international match calendar. The tournament is scheduled for December 1-18, 2021.

It will be run by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the committee organising the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

"This will allow the organisers to use facilities and run operations that are also planned for the subsequent FIFA World Cup," FIFA said in a statement.

The FIFA Council, which convened by videoconference on Thursday, also endorsed a recommendation from the COVID-19 FIFA-Confederations Working Group to extend the June 2021 international window by seven days for the AFC, CAF, Concacaf and the OFC in order to facilitate the playing of four games instead of the current two.

The Council also agreed to move the Intercontinental Play-offs for the FIFA World Cup 2022 from March 2022 to June 2022.

The COVID-19 FIFA-Confederations Working Group and the stakeholders’ task force will continue their work of monitoring the situation in each confederation, discussing alternative solutions and, if required, putting forward any further proposals to the FIFA Council.

The Council also unanimously approved the FIFA COVID‑19 Relief Plan, which was designed by the FIFA administration in close cooperation with representatives of the Confederations. Across its three stages, this global support plan will make available up to US$1.5 billion to assist the football community.

In the first two stages of the plan, FIFA provided for the immediate release of all Forward operational‑cost payments to Member Associations and, subsequently, for the opportunity to transform Forward development grants into COVID-19 operational relief funds – with a minimum of 50% of released funds to be allocated to women’s football .

In stage three, approved by the Council on Thursday, further financial support will be provided through a system of grants and loans:

  • Grants: a universal solidarity grant of US$1 million will be made available to all Member Associations, and an additional grant of US$500,000 will be allocated specifically to women’s football. In addition, each Confederation will receive a grant of US$2 million.
  • Loans: Member Associations will be able to apply for interest-free loans amounting to up to 35% of their audited annual revenues. In the interest of solidarity, a minimum loan of US$500,000 will be available and a maximum of US$5 million. In addition, each Confederation will have access to a loan of up to US$4 million.

To ensure effective oversight of the plan, there will be strict controls on the use of funds, audit requirements, as well as clear loan repayment conditions.

A FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan steering committee will also be established to supervise the administration of the scheme.

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