Football: Countries competing in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, starting from the preliminary round, will get USD 300,000 each to bear the expenses of competing for the World Cup.

FIFA has sent a letter to the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) conveying the same.  BFF officials said they have not received the money yet.

FIFA development officer, (Dr) Shaji Prabhakaran, said that if the federation (BFF) has applied for the budget, they should be getting it within seven to 10 days. “It’s your money, you’ll get it,” he assured.

BFF’s general secretary, Ugyen Wangchhuk, said that the second round of the World Cup qualifiers would be expensive. “We’ve estimated that we’ll require between Nu 26 million to Nu 28 million for all the eight matches,” he said.

Bhutan will host four games, while the squad with BFF officials will have to travel to China, Qatar, Hong Kong and Maldives for the away games.

“If the money from FIFA comes through, then we’ll need about Nu 16 million more,” Ugyen Wangchhuk said.  He said that the federation has talked to the government to help with the extra Nu 16 million. “Hopefully they’ll provide the support,” he said.

During the first round with Sri Lanka, BFF spent Nu 4 million on a single trip.  A total of 30 individuals, 23 players and seven officials, travelled to Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, FIFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) member associations from nine countries, including Bhutan, were briefed on the importance of having a systematic financial governance in football development in the two-day seminar on planning and finance organised by FIFA and AFC.

At the two-day workshop that began yesterday, member associations were made clear on the FIFA financial assistance programme (FAP), a financial support that FIFA lends to all the 209 member associations based on the needs assessments and long-term plan of each member association to help them participate in FIFA competitions.

The annual fund, available as financial support for all the member associations from FIFA under FAP funds and AFC together, amounts to 500,000 USD.  The funds are only released under need-based conditions and should be used in specific areas like youth and grassroots development, women’s football, technical development and sports medicine.

Any member association can avail the support by submitting a written application to the FIFA general secretariat with planned use of the budget.  The secretariat will then analyse and evaluate the requirements within 30 days after the receipt of the application and disburse the payment in instalments, a minimum of two and maximum of four payments per year.

AFC head of development, Stuart Larman, said that, this year, AFC had changed the regulations for the use of the grant. “Member associations can use the budget for any purpose, provided it’s for the development of football,” he said. “But they must allocate 15 percent of the fund for women’s football development.”

By Younten Tshedup