Asuncion, April 3 (IANS) Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, FIFA President Gianni Infantino has admitted “no one around the world knows” when the football will resume.
In his address to the 72nd Ordinary CONMEBOL Congress from Switzerland, Infantino stressed that no football match is worth a life and health remains the top priority, but that football needs to take its own responsibility to ensure the sport “survives and moves forward” amid the ongoing crisis.
“Football is not the most important thing, health comes first and should remain our priority until this sickness has been defeated,” he said. “The world is facing new challenges and we have to stay together and work as a team. This is the lesson that football can give: to work as a team.”
“Tomorrow we all would like to see football again, but we don’t know when we will be able to resume playing and no one around the world knows when we will be able to play like before,” he added.
Sporting activities across the world have come to a grinding halt due to COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed more than 50,000 lives so far.
“It is very important that football follows the instructions of the health authorities and governments, and it is very important that football gives a good example, because it’s clear that no match is more important than a human life. This we need to clearly have in our minds, while at the same time…working with confidence and thinking positively towards the future.”
“We have to look ahead and can’t remain passive as (the coronavirus) will affect us,” he added. “Both our world and our sport will be different once we return to normality. It is our responsibility as football administrators, first of all to ensure football can survive and secondly move forward once again. This is not only our responsibility but also our obligation.”
While mentioning that FIFA has acted immediately, both to postpone matches and to support the World Health Organisation in various messaging campaigns as the coronavirus broke, the FIFA President also outlined that extensive consultation is currently taking place in order for football to be prepared for the key challenges that lie ahead.
“On the international match calendar, we have to look for global solutions to tackle these global problems in a spirit of cooperation and solidarity,” Infantino said. “Everyone has different interests, but we must talk and put on the table topics that we perhaps didn’t discuss in the past. I am convinced that we will find solutions for the international match calendar.”