FIFA President Gianni Infantino has attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he met several heads of state, business leaders from different companies, and leaders of global organisations. Among others, he had talks with the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, International Labour Organisation (ILO) Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo, and World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
“It is important for football and for FIFA to be present at the World Economic Forum. Football is, as we know, more than a sport. Football is definitely a very important economic player in the world,” said the FIFA President. “And football also has a social function, which is also extremely important. So, being able to come to the World Economic Forum, to meet, not just leaders of countries but also leaders of the business community and to see how football can integrate the economy all over the world, I think it’s very, very important.”
Elaborating on football’s importance, he added: “Let’s not forget that the global GDP of football is almost 270 billion USD. It moves a lot as an economic sector, in terms of broadcast sponsorship, ticketing, and everything that’s around it; in terms of operations, the catering, and so on – the security.
“So, it is really an important economic sector and there is a lot of potential for the development of this economic sector all over the world, to follow the great example that Europe, and some European countries in particular, have given. There is a lot to do all over the world.”
FIFA and the WHO have been close partners since signing a Memorandum of Understanding in Geneva in 2019. Since then, they have launched a number of campaigns, including #ReachOut, for better mental health and #ACTogether to promote the need for fair access to COVID-19 vaccines.
At the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, FIFA and the WHO ran the Heathy World Cup campaign which included several initiatives such as #BeActive, aimed at encouraging young people to get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise per day.
Dr. Tedros said: “I had a good conversation with FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the World Economic Forum 2023 on the way forward in bringing the health for sport initiative to the national and local levels via football. I also thanked him for the strong visibility and promotion of ‘health for all’ at the recent FIFA World Cup. I look forward to continued collaboration with FIFA to help people everywhere enjoy the highest standards of physical and mental health.”
Mr Infantino also met Dr Okonjo-Iweala and talked about the progress made since FIFA and the WTO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in September 2022. The main topic of discussion was the further collaboration on the boost of economics of women participation in football, especially in the context of this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.