FIFA chief says football will be totally different after coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – UEFA Congress – Beurs van Berlage Conference Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands – March 3, 2020 FIFA President Gianni Infantino during the UEFA Congress REUTERS/Yves Herman

ROME (Reuters) – Football will be totally different when it eventually resumes after the coronavirus outbreak, the head of global soccer body FIFA Gianni Infantino said on Thursday.

“Football will come back, and when it does, we’ll celebrate coming out of a nightmare together,” he told the Italian news agency ANSA in an interview.

“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.”

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.”

Later on Thursday, Infantino told the annual congress of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) that “it is our responsibility as football administrators, first of all to ensure football can survive and secondly move forward once again.”

“On the international match calendar we have to look for global solutions to tackle these global problems in a spirit of cooperation and solidarity,” Infantino said in a video link from Zurich.

“Everyone has different interests, but we must talk and put on the table topics that we perhaps didn’t discuss in the past.

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis and Paul Simao

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