FIFA is releasing around $150 million to its national associations whose finances have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The game's world governing body said each of its 211 member countries would receive $500,000 (€462,750) in the coming days plus any entitlement under the Forward 2.0 development programme.

The news is a boost to the cash-strapped Football of Association of Ireland, which remains around €45m in debt and has been forced to defer staff salaries by up to 50% due to the impact of the pandemic on income.

Last week St Patrick's Athletic became the latest League of Ireland club forced to temporarily lay off their playing and coaching staff.

The FAI has met with the National League Executive Committee to draw up a roadmap for the return of SSE Airtricity League football at the earliest opportunity and in line with UEFA, Government and HSE guidelines.

In a statement, the FAI said: "The Football Association of Ireland welcomes today's news from FIFA that it will receive the second instalment of its normal funding for designated FAI programmes two months ahead of schedule.

"The Association also welcomes FIFA's announcement that this early payment is the first step of a far-reaching financial relief plan for world football in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino described the funds as the "first step" in a wider plan to assist those struggling due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

"The pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for the entire football community and, as the world governing body, it is FIFA's duty to be there and support the ones that are facing acute needs," he said.

"This starts by providing immediate financial assistance to our member associations, many of which are experiencing severe financial distress. This is the first step of a far-reaching financial relief plan we are developing to respond to the emergency across the whole football community."

FIFA said the money represented operational funding for 2019 and 2020. Under normal circumstances, the associations would only receive full funding upon fulfillment of specific criteria such as the organisation of a set number of men's, women's and youth competitions.

FIFA said the next stages of its financial relief plan are being worked on and would be communicated in due course.

FIFA is reported to have cash reserves of around $2.7 billion (€2.5bn).