Football can give new message of hope, says Fifa chief Infantino

Fifa chief Gianni Infantino at the Dubai International Sports Conference. (Supplied photo)
Fifa chief Gianni Infantino at the Dubai International Sports Conference. (Supplied photo)

Dubai - The fifa boss also paid rich tribute to his childhood hero Paulo Rossi and "Dubai's own" Diego Maradona who passed away earlier this year



by

Abhishek Sengupta

Published: Mon 28 Dec 2020, 6:54 PM

Last updated: Mon 28 Dec 2020, 7:06 PM

In a year when global bodies rethought strategies of survival, football gave the world a message of hope and solidarity, said Gianni Infantino, the president of Fifa, in his opening speech at the Dubai International Sports Conference.

“It has been a difficult year. It is a year which we will remember because of the pandemic, because of Covid-19, because everything stopped, because football stopped as well and because we realised that there is actually something more important than football and that is health,” the Fifa president said.

"We have to thank all those fighting and remember who suffered. Football can give new message of hope and solidarity. This year gave us possibilities to think about the future," he said.

While hailing Dubai as a global city, Infantino says Fifa is determined to make football even bigger on the global stage.

“Football is global. The fact we are here today in Dubai which is a global city, is a testimony of that. And the vision of Fifa is certainly to make football even more global than what it is today,” he said.

“Because even if football is global, the reality is that it is concentrated, of course, in a few countries only and we need to make this bigger with new ideas, new ways, and a new globalised game of football.

“This is the task, this is the mission of Fifa, of course, to organise, to generate, to distribute revenues in the entire world. This is what we are trying to do with the help of all those who are partnering with us, and we need to do it even more so in the future.”

The fifa boss also paid rich tribute to his childhood hero Paulo Rossi and "Dubai's own" Diego Maradona who passed away earlier this year.

“I said it is a very special year and I would like to remember a great legend, Diego Armando Maradona, who left us a few weeks ago,” said Infantino. “He was also at home here in Dubai, and he is certainly one of those who have made us all fall in love with the game.

“Another legend that left us is Paolo Rossi. Of course, as an Italian myself, I cherish the moments I was watching with my parents on TV the 1982 World Cup where Paolo Rossi scored six goals. Also, he has left us much too early,” he added.

The Fifa boss then hailed the new partnership between UAE and Israeli football federations in the wake of the historic Abraham accords.

“I am very happy to be here because another signal of the power of football has been given only recently here in Dubai where we witnessed the signature of a historic agreement between the United Arab Emirates Football Association and the Israel Football Association,” he said.

“The UAE and Israel joining forces to develop women’s football, to develop academies, to develop football together sends, I think, is a very powerful and strong message.

“The biggest lesson of football is that it is a team sport. We need the whole team to win our competitions, and our competitions are about developing football and about bringing hope to the entire world.”


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