Gianni Infantino: I don’t want to risk people’s lives for the sake of football

Health comes first. That is the most important message from Gianni Infantino, the president of the International Football Federation (FIFA), in a video message to the 211 member associations on Friday.

“I can only insist on this,” Infantino said. “No match or competition is worth risking people’s lives for. Everyone on the planet should have that clearly in mind. It would be irresponsible to resume the competition if it is not 100% safe. If we have to wait any longer, we will. It’s better to wait longer than to take risks.”

FIFA also wants to help the member associations financially. The international federation will advance “the payment of the second part of the operational costs of the member associations of the Forward program, which is scheduled for the second half of the year”. The program provides for a total of USD 1.746 billion (approximately €1.6 billion) in aid to all member associations over the period 2019-2022.

“We have a solid financial base thanks to good management over the last four years,” explained Infantino. “It’s not our money, it’s yours. It’s money for football. We still have to look at exactly how we’re going to help. But it’s our duty. And the whole world will see where the money goes.”

“I’m convinced that football will play a role in bringing people together. When we can resume safely and we’ll be close to our friends and family. Let’s prepare for that moment. FIFA is close to you in these difficult times and we will win together,” concluded Infantino.