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FIFA joins COVID-19 fight, pledges $10m

FIFA has joined with the WHO in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, with FIFA president Gianni Infantino calling for teamwork to tackle the crisis.

Infantino on Monday joined WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, to launch the “pass the message to kick out coronavirus” video campaign.

“We need teamwork to combat the coronavirus,” Infantino said. “FIFA has teamed up with WHO because health comes first.”

“I call upon the football community worldwide to join us in supporting this campaign to pass the message even further,” he said. “Some of the greatest players to have played the beautiful game have put their names to the campaign and are united in their desire to pass the message to kick out COVID-19.”

Twenty-eight players — including Argentina forward Lionel Messi, Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker — have backed the initiative aimed at reinforcing five WHO guidelines in stemming the spread of the coronavirus.

They feature in video clips issuing reminders about washing hands, sneezing etiquette, distancing, face-touching and what to do if you develop symptoms.

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“This virus is a global problem and it has shown to all of us two things. One, is how vulnerable we are and the other is how global the world is. Exceptional situations require exception measures and global problems require global solutions,” Infantino said.

“We have to be strong, and follow the guidance of WHO and our governments, and after we will have to rebuild our relations with maybe, and hopefully, more solidarity and understanding for each other. Football is ready to play its part for that.”

FIFA has pledged US$10 million to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

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