Media Release

Federation Internationale de Football Association

FIFA Strasse 20, P.O Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland, +41 (0) 43 222 7777

FIFA and WHO #ACTogether to tackle COVID-19

1 Feb 2021

FIFA is teaming up with the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote the need for fair access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics, and to encourage people to keep practicing life-saving, everyday public health measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to protect health.

In conjunction with the FIFA Club World Cup 2020, being held in Qatar from 4 to 11 February 2021, FIFA and WHO are launching a public awareness campaign involving star footballers, through TV and in-stadium messaging, to further promote the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator initiative launched in April 2020, and to urge people to practice mask wearing, physical distancing and hand hygiene.

“We all have to play our part in the battle against the coronavirus. We are also calling on the international community to #ACTogether to ensure a level playing field in relation to access to vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests across the globe,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said during a video conference prior to the kick-off of the FIFA Club World Cup.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, thanked FIFA and the players for helping raise awareness on life saving interventions that all people can follow, and of the importance of intensified global support for the ACT Accelerator to ramp up development and equitable allocation of vaccines, treatments and tests to reduce severe disease and deaths caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Fairness is the foundation of football and all other sports, and this also must be the same when it comes to health,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The rules of the COVID-19 challenge are simple: all people at risk from the coronavirus in all countries must have equitable access to life-saving vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. In just nine months, the world has established these three powerful lines of defense against COVID-19. But our goal now is to ensure equitable access and continued refinement of these tools.”

Dr Tedros added: “WHO is grateful to FIFA for teaming up with health partners around the world to promote the need for the fair distribution of the tools needed to defeat the coronavirus.”

The new FIFA-WHO collaboration will amplify life-saving messages to a global audience with a series of promotional videos being broadcast during the FIFA Club World Cup. In the videos, competing club captains reiterate the key steps for everyone to follow in order to tackle and defeat the coronavirus by focusing on hands, elbow, face, distance, symptoms, masks and opening windows.

“It is important that we do not forget that health comes first,” said the FIFA President. “Only by following the advice of our medical professionals will we be able to eliminate the threat posed by COVID-19, and I call upon everyone to follow these steps in their daily lives. This advice not only protects you, but also protects your loved ones and those around you. In delivering these messages during the FIFA Club World Cup, I appreciate the support given by the participating teams and their players, coaching staff and other officials in respecting the protocols that need to be followed in order to play this tournament, and to ensure that we keep the football flame flickering brightly during these challenging times.”

The video awareness campaign will feature players and head coaches from the competing teams at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 together with FIFA Legends, and will be published on various FIFA, WHO and club digital channels, with the support of broadcasters worldwide.

Editors notes:

WHO and FIFA signed a four-year collaboration in 2019 to promote healthy lifestyles through football globally. More information on the WHO-FIFA memorandum of understanding can be found here. The two organisations jointly launched the “Pass the message to kick out coronavirus” campaign in March 2020 to share advice on effective measures to protect people from COVID-19. This was followed by the #BeActive campaign in April 2020 to encourage people to stay healthy at home during the pandemic. Subsequently, the global #SafeHome campaign was published in May 2020 to support women and children at risk of domestic violence, and was followed by additional follow-up messaging in August and November 2020.

In April 2020, WHO and partners launched the Access to COVID-19 (ACT) Accelerator initiative to support what has become the fastest, most coordinated, and successful global effort in history to develop tools to fight a disease. Its goal is to end the pandemic as quickly as possible by reducing COVID-19 death and severe disease through the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled-up delivery of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to reduce mortality and severe disease. The financing gap for the ACT-Accelerator for 2021 is US$26 billion, a fraction of the projected global economic cost of up to US$9.2 trillion if governments do not ensure developing economies have equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.