Wednesday 09 September 2020, 17:00

FIFA President meets the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

FIFA President Gianni Infantino reiterated his continued support and underlined the important role that football can play in society’s return to normal life as he met with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Italian Football Association (FIGC) President Gabriele Gravina in Rome today.

Speaking in the Italian capital, the FIFA President said: "It was a great honour for me to be received by Prime Minister Conte, together with the President of the Italian FA. To come to Italy on my first official visit outside Switzerland since the COVID pandemic started, it means a lot to me personally, and especially given how the country has suffered so much over these months. It really was an honour to meet the Prime Minister, to ensure him of our continuous support and to discuss with him the role that football can and will play as we get back to normal life.”

During the meeting, the FIFA and FIGC Presidents also discussed with the Italian Prime Minister the particular situation in Italy. “As Italians, my family and I suffered when we saw the way that Italy was hit by this pandemic. The response by the government and, most importantly, by ordinary Italians has been exemplary. We have to pay tribute to that. Football can be a tool and we know the extraordinary passion for football in Italy. It can help people to gradually get back after months of lockdown. Health has to be the first priority, always. But football can help Italians to rediscover the joy of normal life. We are not there yet, but we are all working together. So I'm proud to be here and I'm proud of what Italy has been doing in the past few months to overcome this pandemic,” President Infantino continued.

FIFA quickly came to the aid of its member associations to help them deal with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and, in June, the FIFA Council approved a multi-year aid package of 1.5 billion Swiss francs, not just for professional men's and women's football, but also youth and amateur football all over the world.

The FIFA President said: “Health must be the first priority whatever we do. So, the moment that people are allowed back into stadiums – with protective protocols, with health concepts – will be the moment we know it's possible to do so without putting people’s health at risk. Discussions have to be ongoing, and we will have to follow how things develop around Europe and around the world, but we want to start getting fans back into the stadiums. But always and only when health permits.”