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Thursday , August 18 2022

FIFA, Qatar team up with WHO for WC health promotion

This post has been read 6952 times!

Infantino wants suspended Brazil-Argentina match played out

GENEVA, Oct 19, (AP): FIFA and Qatari organizers of next year’s World Cup teamed up with the World Health Organization to use soccer’s marquee event for promoting public health. “Events like the World Cup and the Olympic Games are perfect partners for promoting health and solidarity,” WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. When FIFA picked Qatar in 2010 to host the World Cup, the expected health risk was exposing 32 teams of players, thousands of workers and hundreds of thousands of fans to 40-plus Celsius (100-plus Fahrenheit) heat in June and July. Though that issue was solved by moving the games to cooler November temperatures, the coronavirus pandemic is moving into a third year and closer to key tournament preparations. “The tournament is likely to be the first global mass gathering of this scale since the spread of the pandemic,”

Hassan al-Thawadi, the head of the Qatari World Cup organizing committee, said at WHO headquarters. No details were given of practical planning to protect the World Cup from COVID-19, and no questions were taken at the launch broadcast from Geneva. Vaccine mandates for visiting fans to enter stadiums was the official Qatari policy four months ago. Officials have since moved to a more flexible approach, which is expected to be tested one year ahead of the World Cup when Qatar hosts the 16-nation Arab Cup on Nov. 30. WHO officials praised Qatar and FIFA for their financial and practical contributions.

Qatar was a “top 10 voluntary donor” last year, WHO regional director Ahmed Al-Mandhari said. FIFA made a $10 million donation to WHO last year, and FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a video message the state of Qatar was committed to “the safest World Cup ever.” The “Healthy 2022 World Cup” aims to create a legacy for future major sporting events, including the 2026 tournament to be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico. The launch included signing Ivory Coast great Didier Drogba as a WHO goodwill ambassador to promote a healthier lifestyle. “May we unite to be better prepared,” Drogba said, “and respond to future pandemics more collaboratively as we seek to tell the WHO narrative to global audiences in languages and platforms that are accessible to all.” Meanwhile, Infantino believes the suspended World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina should be decided on the pitch. The Sept. 5 match in Sao Paulo was suspended after seven minutes due to alleged breaches of COVID-19 protocols. “It is always good to decide matches on the pitch and not off the pitch,” Infantino said in a news conference in Buenos Aires. “It isn’t always possible, we have rules. Let’s see what FIFA’s disciplinary bodies decide.” The match was interrupted when an agent from Brazil’s health agency, Anvisa, and a policeman walked on to the pitch to remove four England-based Argentina players who the agency said should be in quarantine. At the time, Brazil imposed mandatory quarantine on foreigners coming from England

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