FIFA teams up with WHO to support fight against pandemic

FILE PHOTO: The logo of FIFA is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

(Reuters) - Soccer's global governing body FIFA has joined with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic with the organisation's president Gianni Infantino calling for teamwork to tackle the crisis.

Infantino joined WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a media conference on Monday 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. 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, Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and Brazil keeper Alisson Becker have backed the initiative aimed at reinforcing five WHO guidelines in stemming the spread of the virus.

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

"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," said Infantino.

"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 have pledged $10 million to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.

World soccer's biggest leagues are all suspended because of the pandemic that has infected at least 300,000 worldwide.

This year's UEFA Euro 2020 Championship has also been postponed and is now scheduled to take place next year.

(This story changes day in second paragraph)

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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