COVID-19 COSAFA AfriCAN: FIFA to host football match to raise funds for COVID-19 research

FIFA are to organise a charity match to raise funds for the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, in what will be a first ever game under the banner of the FIFA Foundation.

The funds will be raised for Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT), which is described as a “global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable global access to new coronavirus essential health technologies, including diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines”.

No date or venue has been set for the game, nor is there any indication of which players past or present, will be involved, but the plan is very much on.

“It is our responsibility to demonstrate solidarity and continue to do everything we can to participate and support the efforts in the combat against the pandemic,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

“We have been active in raising awareness via several other campaigns, and FIFA has also contributed financially to this cause, but now we commit ourselves to organise this global fundraising event when the health situation permits, even if this is only in some months’ time.”

The FIFA Foundation, which was created in March 2018, has been developed to use the game of football to provide positive interventions in society, and this would appear to be the perfect time for a first match.

“The FIFA Foundation will engage not only with the worldwide football community, but also other stakeholders from non-governmental organisations to other foundations, and from the private sector to governments, in order to ensure this initiative is a significant help to those who are at the forefront of research in combating COVID-19,” said FIFA Foundation Executive Chairman Mauricio Macri.

“Our focus is to develop and support a society that can provide a balance in terms of prevention from such diseases and the future life, creating an environment where sustainability can truly prosper.”

Former France international Youri Djorkaeff is the CEO of the FIFA Foundation and he says they are carefully studying options to put on the spectacle.

“Further details of this unique event, including the location, date, participants and format will be announced by the FIFA Foundation in due course,” Djorkaeff said.

“Various scenarios and plans are currently under consideration, all of which are in line with health and other relevant guidelines from respective governments and international organisations.”

Meanwhile, supporters in the COSAFA region are urged to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which include:

Wash your hands frequently: Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Maintain social distancing: Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene: Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early: Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.