Monday 17 October 2022, 19:00

Gianni Infantino says FIFA World Cup is perfect opportunity to promote benefits of sport

  • FIFA President was addressing the World Health Summit in Berlin

  • Says WHO will be able to promote its message to an audience of 5 billion people

  • The WHO and FIFA have been working together since 2019

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has told the World Health Summit that the FIFA World Cup™ in Qatar is the ideal opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles. In a video address to the summit's Sports and Health panel, the FIFA President said that health was prime example of how the power of football could be used to spread positive messages.

The panel also included: the World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; Stéphanie Seydoux, France’s Ambassador for Global Health; Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Public Health; three-times Paralympic medallist Amy Purdy; and the former Côte d’Ivoire forward Didier Drogba.

FIFA and WHO have been working together since 2019 when they signed a Memorandum of Understanding. This year, the two sides are working with the government of Qatar to promote health at the FIFA World Cup 2022.

The WHO’s Sports and Health Programme aims to raise awareness about the benefits of healthy lifestyles among one billion people and will use sports events to spread this message. “I am glad to say that you will have to perfect opportunity to do this from 20 November as more than five billion people tune in to watch the greatest show on earth - the FIFA World Cup,” said the FIFA President. “The FIFA World Cup will inspire people around the world to play more football and be more active. Throughout the tournament, FIFA and its partners will run a campaign to try and get people moving – particularly young people who may be watching their first-ever World Cup and are particularly vulnerable to inactivity.”

President Infantino said that the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic would be put to good use with measures implemented to keep players, officials and the public safe. “(There are) measures we believe can be used as a blueprint for future major sporting events,” he said. He added that FIFA would ensure the right of spectators to breathe clean air, uncontaminated by carcinogens and other harmful substances, thanks to the FIFA Event Policy for Tobacco which follows WHO recommendations. “We intend to make the FIFA World Cup 2022 not only the best ever, but also the healthiest,” he said.

The World Health Summit is taking place in Berlin from 16 to 18 October 2022 and is co-organised by the German Government and the WHO.