AGENCIES, Rome: It’s a period when one can expect the unexpected, but when it comes to predictions there could be some possible scenarios. This is what perhaps is going through the mind of Gianni Infantino, FIFA boss. On Thursday, Infantino was speaking by video link to a CONMEBOL congress in Paraguay where he said that because of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, for once football “is not the most important thing”.
“We all wish that we could have football tomorrow but unfortunately it’s not possible and nobody in the world today knows when we will be able to play like before,” Infantino told South American football chiefs
“Our world and our sport is going to be different when we return to normality. We have to make sure that football survives and that it can prosper once again.”
Like most other sports, football across the world has been largely impacted by the pandemic, which to date has infected over a million people and killed more than 55,000.
In his message, Infantino said that “these are times of respect for those who suffer and for those who are helping”.
“For the first time, football is not the most important thing! Health comes first and must continue until this disease is defeated.”
Last week, Infantino told Gazzetta dello Sport that it was the right time to take a step back and reform a sport where fixture lists have become overloaded and financial resources increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few elite clubs. He suggested there could be “fewer, but more interesting tournaments. Maybe fewer squads, but more balance. Fewer, but more competitive, matches to safeguard the health of the players.”
“There is one lesson, however, that both you and me must have understood: the football that will come after the virus will be totally different … (more) inclusive, more social and more supportive, connected to the individual countries and at the same time more global, less arrogant and more welcoming.”
He added: “We will be better, more human and more attentive to true values.”