The global health organisation and the football governing body previously united to raise awareness about the coronavirus pandemic.
Qatar and the World Health Organization [WHO] have teamed up to promote physical and mental health during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in a new multiyear collaboration, the UN agency announced on Monday.
Titled “Healthy 2022 World Cup – Creating Legacy for Sport and Health”, the three-year project is a collaboration between the Gulf state and the WHO to ensure that the long-anticipated event is a “beacon” for health promotion.
The announcement was made during a joint ceremony at the health body’s headquarters in Geneva that was attended by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghrebreyesus, Qatar’s Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Secretary General of the Qatari Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy [SC] Hassan Al Thawadi, FIFA President Mr Gianni Infantino and WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari.
“As the Qatar tournament will be the first FIFA World Cup held during the pandemic, the event offers a unique opportunity to show how sport can promote health now and provide a lasting legacy for organising healthy sporting events,” said Dr. Tedros.
Qatar and the WHO will work with FIFA to hold joint activities to ensure the promotion of health in various aspects during the global event, which is set to take place from 21 November to 18 December next year.
The joint-project’s themes aim to encourage individuals to lead healthy lifestyles through various methods such as physical activity, healthy diets and tobacco cessation and control.
Health security is also among the key areas expected to be addressed.
“The State of Qatar is proud to be the first country from the Middle East to host the FIFA World Cup. But our goal is not just to hold a successful sporting event – it is also to hold the healthiest sporting event possible. It is for this reason we have teamed up with WHO,” said Dr. Al Kuwari.
Infantino also said the partnership builds on a previous agreement FIFA signed with WHO in 2019 “to promote healthy lifestyles through football globally”.
“WHO’s new project with Qatar aligns perfectly with FIFA’s collaboration with both sides. Working together, we will harness the power of sports as a catalyst for a safer and healthier world,” said Infantino.
Al Thawadi alsosaid the partnership will “elevate and enhance” the SC’s efforts to ensure that the first World Cup in the Middle East “maximises its potential for social impact and serves as a benchmark for future events of a similar nature”.
Earlier this year, the WHO and FIFA united to raise awareness about the coronavirus pandemic under #ACTogether, an initiative that aims to promote fair and equal access to the Covid-19 vaccines.
The campaign, which coincided with the Club World Cup in Qatar in February, involved football stars that joined to promote safety tools used to fight the pandemic through television and in-stadium messaging.
The awareness videos featured players and head coaches from the competing teams at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020, all of which were displayed with the support of global broadcasters.
The two organisations also previously launched the “Pass the message to kick out coronavirus” campaign in March last year, an April initiative under the title #BeActive, as well as the #SafeHome in May – all of which which promoted the importance of maintaining safety and healthy measures to help curb coronavirus infections.