Geneva, October 5: The World Health Organization and FIFA on Friday signed a four-year cooperation deal that aims to encourage people to follow a healthy lifestyle through soccer. Measures include banning smoking at stadiums or during events organized by the soccer international governing body, the Efe news reported. WHO, in return, will provide FIFA with a series of technical health advice aimed at improving hygiene and preventing diseases.
Both parties have already collaborated in order to ban smoking at soccer competitions, as happened at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. "WHO is excited to be working with FIFA. Half the world watched the 2018 World Cup. This means there's huge potential for us to team up to reach billions of people with information to help them live longer healthier lives," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, according to a statement issued in Geneva. FIFA Women's World Cup 2019: From Teams to Schedule And Venues, All You Need to Know About the Football Mega Event.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, meanwhile, said he was thrilled with the cooperation. "I am extremely happy to announce this collaboration with WHO. Football is a unique, universal language and we want to use our platform and network to support health initiatives and promote healthy lifestyles all around the world," Infantino said.
The deal also includes initiatives that boost physical activities through soccer with the backing of national soccer federations, goodwill ambassadors, soccer players, coaches and volunteers.