Gianni Infantino (PA)

FIFA president calls for ‘tolerance’ and stricter financial regulations

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for the prospect of salary and transfer fee caps to be discussed at all levels of the game.

The coronavirus crisis has had a big financial impact across the sport and the global governing body hopes to finalise plans for a relief package at its next Council meeting later this month.

The pandemic and its effects has led to calls for financial reform across a cash-rich industry and Infantino has encouraged discussions on the matter.

“On the financial and governance aspects, I also heard some interesting proposals on a wide range of topics,” he wrote in an open letter to FIFA’s members.

“From salary caps to transfer fee caps or other taxation mechanisms, to the possible obligation for governing bodies, competition organisers and clubs to build reserves or to contribute to a reserve fund which can be of assistance in hours of need such as now.

“I personally advocate for clearer and stricter financial regulations, imposing full transparency and good governance principles, and not only limiting this to the transfer system, but to the entire football ecosystem.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hug after the final whistle during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

“FIFA is doing already a lot of work on this area, even if we face some strong vested interests who fight against our plea for a better global governance in our sport.

“Dear friends, we will need your full support and commitment to move to the next level of good governance in football globally.

“I think that these and other measures, projects and ideas should be discussed at all levels. I know that this is something that will spark intense debate, but debate is healthy, and we should speak about it all together – as we stand together during this difficult period.”

Even the richest clubs in the world are being affected by coronavirus, with Tottenham taking out a £175million loan from the Bank Of England this week in order to plug a £200million hole in expected revenue.

FIFA has plans for a rescue package for all areas of the game and Infantino hopes to get it sorted soon.

“The need for top club football to resume has understandably taken priority, but we must also consider national teams, women’s football, lower-tier domestic leagues, youth and the grassroots game,” Infantino added.

“We have to show unity across all aspects of football and make sure football can resume in its globality. This is our priority and our financial relief plan will also follow this principle.

“In a constructive spirit of consultation that seeks to benefit all of football, FIFA is working hard to present a positive solution to the FIFA Council in the coming weeks.”

Football is beginning to resume following a long hiatus, with the Bundesliga already back in action and the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A set to follow in the next couple of weeks, with all games played behind closed doors.

The Bundesliga returned behind closed doors this weekend (Hannibal Hanschke/PA)

FIFA has previously warned that the game will be “very different” until a Covid-19 vaccine can be found and Infantino has urged associations to be patient before allowing for fans to return to the stadium.

“Football is already underway or about to restart in several countries,” he said. “This brings us, and all the football fans across the globe, some hope for the future.

“However, we also have to understand and respect different decisions, especially from those among us who still need more time to be sure that a restart can be done in a way that is safe for everyone.

“Tolerance and understanding are important, especially these days.”

While domestic leagues are up and running, there is no sign of a return for international fixtures any time soon, with the 2020 calendar decimated.

Discussions are ongoing over a scheduled return and a new calendar could be revealed soon.

“On another very important topic, namely the international match calendar, I am happy to report that we also made some good progress,” the Italian added.

“In consultation with different stakeholders, we are closer to presenting a balanced solution that takes into account everyone’s challenges and needs.”