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Coronavirus: Football stars past and present unite to spread the message

Football stars past and present from around the world have come together to spread the message about tackling the deadly coronavirus.

Covid-19 has brought the world of sport to a shuddering halt, but footballers from Lionel Messi to Michael Owen and Xavi are uniting in a bid to prevent its further spread.

FIFA and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have teamed up by launching a new awareness campaign where world stars call on people around the globe to follow five key steps to combat the virus.

The video is available in six languages – English, French, German, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese – with players conveying the message in their mother tongue.

The ‘Pass the message to kick out coronavirus’ campaign promotes five key steps for people to follow to protect their health in line with WHO guidance.

It focuses on hand washing, coughing etiquette, not touching your face, physical distance and staying home if feeling unwell. 

The video begins: ‘For the fist time ever we, the entire world, are all playing on the same team. 

‘Our opponent is a disease. We need determination, discipline and teamwork to beat the coronavirus. The world of football is united and together, we will win.’

Gary Lineker, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, USWNT legend Carli Lloyd, Lionel Messi, Chinese forward Han Duan and Samuel Eto’o then deliver the message for tackling the disease in their respective first languages. 

The campaign also features Youri Djorkaeff, Radamel Falcao, Juan Sebastian Veron, Carles Puyol, Philipp Lahm and Mido, including a host of others. 

‘FIFA and its President Gianni Infantino have been actively involved in passing the message against this pandemic since the very beginning,’ said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the virtual launch of the campaign at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. 

 ‘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.’

‘We need teamwork to combat the coronavirus,’ added FIFA Infantino. ‘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.’

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

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