FIFA president Gianni Infantino has urged all football associations to use the “power of the game” to publicise preventive measures in relation to coronavirus.
In an open letter, to FIFA members and stakeholders, seen by Africa Tembelea, Infantino has underlined the need to follow World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations.
“In partnership with the WHO, we are launching awareness building initiatives designed to provide practical recommendations and steps to tackle the spread of COVID-19,” Infantino said.
“I highly recommend you to also at your level use the power of football to send out and spread these key messages,” he added.
The FIFA president noted that the game had a responsibility to keep those involved in football as healthy as possible.
“Under these circumstances, we must now do everything in our power to protect fans, players, coaches, and everyone else involved in our beautiful game. Most importantly, the football authorities must take all necessary measures to prevent the virus spreading to the wider community,” he said.
Infantino praised the football community for the solidarity and unity it has shown so far but warned this must continue “when thinking about how we will address the consequences we will have to face for the future of our game, once this serious risk to human health is behind us”.
He also observed that football could play a crucial role in helping society recover from the pandemic.
“Sport in general and football, in particular, can — and I believe will — play a big part in helping our world recover once we have, hopefully sooner rather than later, returned to normality,” said Infantino.
Africa Tembelea has also learnt that UEFA will hold a crisis meeting on Tuesday to determine whether to postpone Euro 2020, which is due to take place for the first time in a dozen different cities spread across the continent from June 12 to July 12.
Should the pan-continental Euros be moved to 2021 it could come into conflict with FIFA’s plans for an expanded Club World Cup in that timeslot involving the world’s leading club sides.
As of today, most football leagues in Europe and many around the world have suspended play due to the spread of the coronavirus that has infected more than 182,274 people and claimed 7,140 deaths across the world since it was first identified in central China in late December 2019.