FIFA and World Health Organization (WHO) Increase Collaboration

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FIFA and the World Health Organization (WHO) have extended their memorandum of understanding for an additional four years. The Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and FIFA President Gianni Infantino signed the new agreement in Geneva, Switzerland.

Both organizations are committed to continuing their collaboration in promoting health through football. FIFA and WHO have agreed to strengthen their partnership and use the power of football to promote healthy lifestyles and achieve equitable access to health services worldwide.

During the 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and FIFA President Gianni Infantino signed the extension of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for four years, effective from October 4, 2019.

“Health and football are natural allies. Promoting a healthy lifestyle, ensuring safe stadiums, and the physical and mental benefits of physical activity are among the many objectives that intersect health,” said Dr. Tedros. “WHO is proud to score with FIFA in the next four years on equal access to health through the power of football. The partnership between FIFA and WHO has already been successful in sharing evidence-based messages to improve lives through football and sport, enabling people of all ages to lead healthy and safe lives. WHO looks forward to continuing this journey with FIFA.”

Gianni Infantino stated, “We are proud to sign and renew our memorandum of understanding with the World Health Organization – we are proud to continue our relationship to reach as many people as possible with important messages on physical and mental health through our global football community.” “I would like to express my gratitude to every person helping in the field of health care – from doctors to nurses, from healthcare professionals to ministers of health, and everyone contributing to making our lives better. Looking back at the past four years, they said, “Dr. Tedros and I both felt that in a world that is more divided than ever, if a global health organization and FIFA work together, we can achieve something, a little impact to make our lives a little better. Since 2019, we have been trying to use the impact of football in collaboration with our partners in the World Health Organization, which helps improve health for everyone.”

During the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, FIFA and WHO launched the Football United for Health campaign. It involved collaboration with two goodwill ambassadors for WHOs, Eliud Kipchoge and Dida Diallo, along with football stars Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hassan Al-Haydos, Karim Benzema, Lucy Bronze, Julia Gwinn, Kaka, Robert Lewandowski, Carly Lloyd, Ederson Moraes, and Emmanuel Petit. This collaboration highlighted the unparalleled ability of football to bring people together.

The collaboration between the Ministry of Public Health of Qatar, FIFA, and WHO focused on various initiatives to promote physical and mental health access for all. Health and well-being were prioritized throughout the tournament, with measures such as:

  • Large-scale meetings and surveillance of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases to prevent their spread.
  • Tobacco-free policies, including making stadium seating areas smoke-free, to protect people from the harms of tobacco.
  • Healthy eating options available at all stadiums of the FIFA World Cup 2022, with 30% of the food options being healthy and vegetarian, creating an environment of healthy, sustainable, and high-quality food during major matches.

Since 2020, both organizations have launched several digital campaigns and initiatives in the armed forces to address various health-related issues, such as mental health, using technology to provide support and resources.

Overall, the extended collaboration between FIFA and WHO aims to harness the power of football to promote health, well-being, and equitable access

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