SPORTS FIFA chief warns against restarting football too soon


FIFA chief warns against restarting football too soon


14:03, April 11, 2020

The logo of FIFA is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland Sept 26, 2017. (Photo: Agencies)

PARIS - FIFA president Gianni Infantino reiterated that people's health is the top priority amid the COVID-19 pandemic, warning that resuming leagues without 100 percent safety is irresponsible.

The chief of world football's governing body made the statement on Friday during a video message to FIFA's 211 member associations.

"Our first priority, our principle, the one we will use for our competitions and encourage everyone to follow is that health comes first," the 50-year-old said.

"I cannot stress this enough. No match, no competition, no league is worth risking a single human life."

The outbreak of coronavirus has brought the football world to a standstill, with most leagues having been suspended and major international championships like Euro 2020 and the Copa America being postponed for one year.

German football league (DFL) chief executive Christian Seifert told Die Zeit newspaper on Thursday that the Bundesliga, currently suspended until at least April 30, "will be ready" should it be given the chance to play behind doors.

But Infantino warned that "it would be more than irresponsible to force competitions to resume if things are not 100 percent safe."

"If we have to wait a little longer we must do so. It's better to wait a little bit longer than to take any risks."

Infantino also stated that FIFA is already assessing the financial impact across world football in order to coordinate the right response.

"FIFA enjoys a good reputation on the financial market. This has helped us consolidate a solid foundation with large reserves. But our reserves are not FIFA's money. It is football's money. So when football is in need, we must think what we can do to help. It is our responsibility and our duty."

"You will never be alone. The world will know where the money goes and, equally importantly, why the money goes there," Infantino added.

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