THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Statement by FIFA President Gianni Infantino

FIFA President Gianni Infantino. (Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)
FIFA President Gianni Infantino during a press conference in New Delhi. Photo courtesy: AIFF Media

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has issued a statement in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on world football.

Statement by Gianni Infantino

The world is facing an unprecedented health challenge and clearly a global and collective response is needed. Cooperation, mutual respect and understanding must be the guiding principles for all decision makers to have in mind at this crucial moment in time.

Particularly in football, finding appropriate and fair solutions at global level is imperative. This requires unity, solidarity and a shared sense of responsibility and we need to think of all those around the world potentially impacted by our decisions.

With this in mind, FIFA has constantly been discussing with confederations, member associations and other stakeholders from around the world, also bearing in mind that firstly health and secondly sporting solidarity are paramount considerations for the world of football.

In this respect, FIFA has received the requests from CONMEBOL and UEFA to postpone respectively the 2020 Copa América and the UEFA EURO 2020 to the June/July of 2021 in a slot previously reserved for the FIFA Confederations Cup and now currently reserved for the new FIFA Club World Cup.

It is important at this stage to remember that the main purpose of FIFA’s competitions, including those mentioned above, is to ensure both global football development and worldwide solidarity programmes and that the vast majority of Member Associations around the world depend on FIFA’s solidarity programmes for their activities for both women’s and men’s football to take place. It is therefore essential that their interests, both sporting and economic, are protected as well.

Nevertheless, with the aim of finding balanced solutions for the good of football and to protect the interests of all stakeholders and competition organisers, whether they be national, continental or worldwide, I have called for a Bureau of the Council conference call tomorrow to see how we can progress matters collectively. During this call, I will suggest the following next steps:

• to accept the postponements of the CONMEBOL 2020 Copa América and the UEFA EURO 2020 to the June/July of 2021;
• to decide at a later stage – when there is more clarity on the situation – when to reschedule the new FIFA Club World Cup, later in 2021, in 2022 or in 2023;
• to discuss with the Chinese FA and the Chinese Government the postponement of the new FIFA Club World Cup from 2021 in order to minimise any negative impact; and
• to discuss the impact of these changes on the calendar with the confederations, Member Associations and other stakeholders and work on the current International Match Calendar with the objective of finding appropriate solutions for everyone to be proposed as soon as the circumstances allow, hopefully before the end of April.
In the meantime, and thanks to its solid financial situation, FIFA is in a position to propose proactive solidarity measures specifically targeting the corona virus disease crisis. Concretely, I will therefore also suggest:

• A direct USD 10 million contribution from FIFA to the World Health Organisation WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund;
• Discussing the possibility of establishing a Global Football Assistance Fund to help members of the football community affected by this crisis; and
• Encourage everyone in football to contribute to these efforts.
FIFA will also consult with professional football stakeholders to be able to shortly announce any necessary amendments or temporary dispensations to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players’ to protect contracts for both players and clubs.

With regard to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, I kindly refer you to the statement of the IOC issued today.

Finally, it goes without saying that FIFA will keep in regular contact with all members of the football community during this difficult period. As I stated yesterday, challenging circumstances offer the opportunity for people to come together, show what they can do in a collective spirit, and emerge stronger and better prepared for the future. And this is what FIFA is aiming to do here.