- FIFA has teamed up with the World Health Organization (WHO) to #ACTogether
- Campaign promotes need for fair access to COVID-19 vaccines, among other things
- Michael Owen added his voice of support: "There needs to be equity and fairness in access to vaccines"
England and FIFA Legend Michael Owen backed #ACTogether, a joint campaign from FIFA and 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.
Owen joined an online media conference to add his support for the campaign and to speak on behalf of the FIFA Legends community to share his deepest condolences to the family and friends of all of the victims who have sadly lost their lives to COVID-19.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino and WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus both spoke during a media conference about the importance of the #ACTogether campaign at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
"For the third week in a row, the number of new cases of COVID-19 reported globally fell last week," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "There are still many countries with increasing numbers of cases, but at the global level, this is encouraging news. However, we have been here before. Over the past year, there have been moments in almost all countries when cases declined, and governments opened up too quickly and individuals let down their guard, only for the virus to come roaring back."
Dr Tedros continued: "As vaccines are rolled out, it’s vital that all of us continue to take the precautions to keep ourselves and each other safe. Strengthening health information systems has been a key part of WHO’s transformation process over the past three and a half years.
"Another key part of that process has been a new approach to partnerships. WHO recognises that we can only achieve our ambitious goals by working with organisations who reach audiences we traditionally haven’t.
"Last year, WHO entered a new partnership with FIFA, to leverage the enormous power of football to promote health. FIFA has been a strong supporter of global efforts to protect football fans from COVID-19. Last year, FIFA contributed US$10 million to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, and conducted several campaigns to raise awareness of how to stay safe from the virus, be physically active and to stop violence against women."
The #ACTogether campaign will be an important initiative and run in conjunction with the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™ taking place from 4 to 11 February. With the help of star footballers like Owen, through TV and in-stadium messaging, the campaign will promote the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator initiative launched in April 2020 and will urge everyone to continue to wear masks in public, social distance and maintain hand hygiene.
"First and foremost, I’d like to send my condolences and deepest sympathies to all those families who lost lives/are suffering. Fairness and team spirit are key values in football," said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
"The same values are needed for today’s great challenge. If we act together. We are calling on the international community to ensure fairness. Access to vaccines, treatment and diagnostics. Using football as a powerful tool. We feel we need to work and act together. We are honoured to support the WHO. Dr Tedros – we are on the same team."
Dr Tedros concluded the remarks with a vital message: "If we act alone, we're vulnerable. If we act together, we can save lives."