FIFA and Qatar partner with WHO to promote World Cup health

FIFA and Qatari organizers of next year’s World Cup partnered with the World Health Organization on Monday to use football’s flagship event to promote public health.

The move follows years of Qatar’s scrutiny and criticism from conditions for hundreds of thousands of migrant workers needed for massive tournament related projects.

“Events like the World Cup and the Olympics are perfect partners in promoting health and solidarity,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

When FIFA chose Qatar in 2010 to host the World Cup, the expected health risk was to expose 32 teams of players, thousands of workers and hundreds of thousands of fans to over 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) in June and July.

Although this issue was addressed by moving the games to cooler temperatures in November, the coronavirus pandemic is entering a third year and is getting closer to major tournament preparations.

“The tournament will likely be the first global mass gathering of this magnitude since the spread of the pandemic,” said Hassan al-Thawadi, head of the Qatari World Cup organizing committee at WHO headquarters.

No details were given on Monday on the practical planning to protect the World Cup from COVID-19, and no questions were taken during the launch broadcast from Geneva.

Vaccination warrants for supporters visiting stadiums have been Qatari official policy four months ago. Officials have since moved to a more flexible approach, which is expected to be tested a year before the World Cup when Qatar host the 16 Nations Arab Cup on November 30.

WHO officials on Monday congratulated Qatar and FIFA for their financial and practical contributions.

Qatar was among the “top 10 voluntary donors” last year, said WHO regional director Ahmed Al-Mandhari.

Tedros called the Qatari support “critical for our work” and noted two flights he recently provided to transport medical supplies to Afghanistan.

FIFA donated $ 10 million to WHO last year, and FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a video message on Monday that the State of Qatar has pledged to organize. the safest World Cup ever “.

The “Healthy World Cup 2022” aims to create a legacy for future major sporting events, including the 2026 tournament which will be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The launch included the signing of the great Ivorian Didier Drogba as the WHO Goodwill Ambassador to promote a healthier lifestyle.

“May we come together to be better prepared,” said Drogba, “and respond to future pandemics in a more collaborative way as we seek to tell the WHO story to the global public in languages ​​and platforms accessible to all . “

By GRAHAM DUNBAR AP Sports Writer


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