17 March 2020 – FIFA has reiterated its support to the World Health Organization (WHO) in fighting the coronavirus (COVID-19) by launching an awareness campaign led by six world-renowned coaches, who request everyone across the world to follow five key tactics that tackle the spread of the disease.
With tactics playing such a key role in football success, the coaches are united behind the five-step game plan to defeat the virus – hands, elbow, face, distance and feel – in line with the WHO’s basic protective measures against COVID-19.
“We all know the situation with the coronavirus is a serious one, and we need to put health first,” said FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger. “These are the five key tactics to tackle the coronavirus, and I urge you to follow with discipline at all times, these five key tactics.”
The ex-Arsenal manager is supported by his former cross-London rival and former Argentina international and Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino. “It starts with your hands,” he says. “Please, wash your hands frequently, if possible, with an alcohol-based hand solution.”
Such frequent washing with soap and water, or preferably with an alcohol-based hand solution, kills viruses that may be on your hands. It is simple, but it is very important.
Manchester United Women coach Casey Stoney lends her voice to the campaign. “With your elbows bent, please cover your nose and mouth if you sneeze or cough. If using tissues, dispose of them immediately.”
Droplets spread the coronavirus. By following respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from contracting viruses, such as cold, flu and coronavirus.
“For your face, avoid touching your eyes, your nose and your mouth. This can prevent the virus from entering your body,” adds Aliou Cisse, Senegal’s national team coach.
Hands touch too many surfaces and can quickly pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your face, from where the virus can move inside your body, making you feel unwell.
Jose Mourinho, the 2010 FIFA World Coach of the Year for men’s football, and current Tottenham Hotspur manager, says: “In terms of social interaction, take a step back. Stay one metre distance minimum from everyone that coughs or sneezes.”
By maintaining such social distancing, you are helping to avoid breathing in any droplets from someone who sneezes or coughs in close proximity.
Jill Ellis, coach of the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup™-winning USA teams, requests people to remain at home if feeling poorly: “If you feel unwell, stay home,” she says. “In some countries isolation might be advisable for healthy persons too. Please follow all instructions from your local health authority.”
If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance.
Equally, local health authorities provide the latest information on the situation in your area. Please follow their specific instructions, and call in advance to allow them to direct you to the appropriate local health facility. This serves to protect you and to help prevent the spread of virus and other infections.
“So please keep yourselves informed at all times,” concludes FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “Follow these recommendations and support the WHO in their efforts to tackle the coronavirus. Together, we will win this difficult match.”