Thursday 26 May 2022, 20:30

FIFA President tells world leaders during World Economic Forum that football can be a force for good

  • Gianni Infantino holds talks with several heads of state and business leaders

  • Football invited for a panel session on sport as a unifying force

  • FIFA President spoke about football as force for good

Gianni Infantino took part in a panel discussion during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he relayed the message that football can help change society for the better. During the session entitled Sport as a Unifying Force, the FIFA president reiterated his long-held belief in football’s ability to heal and unite on a global scale and emphasised that FIFA is committed to putting its power at the service of society and contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He added that the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, which he expects to be watched by five billion people, will be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate football’s ability to bring people together following the Covid-19 pandemic and global conflicts that have isolated and divided people around the world.

Besides informal talks with several political and business leaders, bilateral meetings were held with the Presidents of Costa Rica, Rwanda, Armenia and Colombia. With recently elected President Rodrigo Chaves Robles of Costa Rica, the FIFA President discussed the U-20 Women’s World Cup which will be held in the Central American country in August. Apart from the preparations for the tournament, the two also talked about women’s football in general and the legacy that the tournament will leave for women’s and girls’ football in Costa Rica.

The meeting with the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, focused on ongoing projects across Africa, including the FIFA Forward investment for the Rwanda Football Association accommodation facility in Kigali. FIFA also opened a Regional Development Office in Kigali last year. The FIFA President met President Vahagn Khachaturyan of Armenia and the two talked about the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Football Federation of Armenia (FFA) which was founded in 1992. Last year, Yerevan became the venue for the launch of the FIFA Foundation's Campus Programme, a new global initiative that gives girls and boys from under-privileged backgrounds the opportunity to play football and develop their personal and social learning. Gianni Infantino continued his close working relationship with President Iván Duque Márquez of Colombia. The Colombian Football Federation (FCF) opened a state-of-the-art sports headquarters with support from the FIFA Forward programme last year. The FIFA President also informally met the heads of state of several African nations including Botswana, Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe as part of a session which he was invited to attend.