WHO Partners With FIFA

The World Health Organization (WHO) and world governing body of football FIFA have entered into a 4 year collaboration agreement to promote healthy lifestyle through football.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and FIFA President Gianni Infantino signed the memorandum of understanding at WHO’s Geneva-based headquarters.

The agreement includes four areas of collaboration:

  1. Advocacy to promote a healthy lifestyle through football.
  2. Policy alignment to ensure tobacco-free environments at FIFA events; to encourage national football federations to adopt tobacco-free policies, including at stadiums; and to enable WHO to provide technical advice to FIFA on health matters.
  3. Building on FIFA events to institute lasting improvements in health and safety.
  4. Joint programmes and initiatives to increase participation in physical activity through football, in line with WHO guidance, as well as working with national associations and networks of WHO goodwill ambassadors, football players, coaches and volunteers to increase physical activity through football.

The agreement means WHO will provide technical advice to FIFA on a variety of health matters, and conduct joint programmes to increase physical activity through football.

In light of promoting a healthy lifestyle what can this partnership mean for alcohol prevention? Specially considering that AB InBev and their brand Budweiser are major sponsors of the FIFA World Cup. 

In a thought provoking analysis IOGT International President Kristina Sperkova looks into positive aspects as well as possible risks and what this partnership could mean for alcohol prevention.

According to her, FIFA’s policy alignment with regards to alcohol prevention is an achievable outcome through this partnership. Specifically in terms of the following three expectations: 

  1. Alcohol-free World Cup stadiums,
  2. World Cup tournaments free from alcohol ads, promotions and sponsorships, and
  3. FIFA terminating its sponsorship deal with Big Alcohol giant AB InBev.

These measures would ensure that the FIFA World Cup would become a healthy and safe environment for all, specially children and youth.

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Source Website: WHO