Lionel Messi, Sunil Chhetri, other FIFA players raise awareness around coronavirus with WHO

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 24, 2020

File photo of Indian Football Team Sunil Chhetri

Campaign is called as ‘Pass the message to kick out coronavirus’

As the whole world is staring at a pandemic, with no exit strategy so far, the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), has launched a new awareness campaign. The campaign is led by world-renowned footballers, who are calling on all world citizens to follow five key steps in order to prevent the coronavirus from further spreading. The video campaign is called “Pass the message to kick out coronavirus” that has 28 players including Lionel Messi, Jared Borgetti, Sunil Chhetri and Alisson Becker, among others. The video campaign would be published in 13 different languages.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the virtual launch of the campaign said in an official release: “FIFA and its President Gianni Infantino have been actively involved in passing the message against this pandemic since the very beginning.”

Appreciating sportspersons and FIFA, he said in the press statement: “Be it through campaigns or funding, FIFA has stood up to the coronavirus, and I am delighted that world football is supporting WHO to kick out the coronavirus. I have no doubt with this type of support that together we will win.”

According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the world needs teamwork to combat the coronavirus.”

Infantino said: “FIFA has teamed up with WHO because health comes first. I call upon the football community worldwide to join us in supporting this campaign to pass the message even further. Some of the greatest players to have played the beautiful game have put their names to the campaign and are united in their desire to pass the message to kick out COVID-19.”

Here are the five steps to be taken to contain the spread of the virus -


“It starts with your hands,” says Alisson Becker, WHO Goodwill ambassador for health promotion, Liverpool FC and Brazil goalkeeper. “Please wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based solution.”

Such frequent washing with soap and water, or preferably with an alcohol-based hand solution, kills viruses that may be on your hands.


“Cover your nose and mouth with a bent elbow or tissue when you sneeze or cough,” says Carli Lloyd two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner from the United States. “Dispose of tissue immediately and wash your hands.”

Droplets spread the coronavirus. By following respiratory hygiene, one protects the people around them from contracting viruses, including cold, flu, and coronavirus.


“Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent the virus from entering your body,” adds FC Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, The Best FIFA Men’s Player in 2019, and a multiple FIFA Ballon d’Or winner.

Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to the face, from where the virus can move inside the body, making one feel unwell.


“In terms of social interaction, take a step back,” says Han Duan, who represented China PR 188 times in an international career that spanned 11 years. “Stay at least one-meter distance from others.”

By maintaining such social distancing, people would be able to avoid breathing in any droplets from someone who sneezes or coughs in close proximity.

Feel – know your symptoms:

“If you feel unwell, stay home,” concludes Samuel Eto’o, former FC Barcelona and Cameroon striker, who represented his country 114 times. “Please follow all the instructions provided by your local health authorities.”

WHO says that If on has a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Keep informed as local health authorities provide the latest information on the situation in your area and follow their instructions.

FIFA has also pledged $10 million to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.

FIFA, World Health Organization, novel coronavirus, COVID-19, health, sports, football, soccer

Published on March 24, 2020

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