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Football’s world governing body, FIFA, is setting up a fund to assist competitions and players which have run into financial difficulty because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of clubs are feeling the bite of the financial crisis brought on by the pandemic, with Premier League sides Newcastle and Tottenham placing some staff on furlough – a scheme in which an employee does not work but gets 80 per cent of their salary paid for the next two months by the government.

In Spain, La Liga giants Barcelona have agreed a 70 per cent wage cut for their players, while in Scotland, Hearts have also asked their players to take a 50 per cent salary cut.

FIFA is now set to dip into its reserves to help those competitions and clubs most affected.

“The football community around the world is experiencing, to a greater or lesser extent, serious financial problems on account of the coronavirus outbreak,” a FIFA spokesperson said.

“This threatens to disrupt and impair the ability of FIFA’s member associations and other football organisations such as leagues and clubs to develop, finance and run football activities at all levels of the game, including professional, non-professional, youth and grassroots.

“It is foreseen that in many parts of the world a considerable number of persons involved in football including both men and women players will be left in extremely difficult economic conditions.

“FIFA is in a strong financial situation and it’s our duty to do the utmost to help them in their hour of need.

“Therefore, we confirm FIFA is working on possibilities to provide assistance to the football community around the world after making a comprehensive assessment of the financial impact this pandemic will have on football.

“The exact format and details of this assistance are currently being considered and discussed in consultation with FIFA’s member associations, the confederations and other stakeholders, having in mind that a decision needs to be agreed and announced in the near future.”

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