FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said the football landscape will be “totally different” once it resumes following postponements caused by the coronavirus.
Most major sports have suspended activities for the time being due to the pandemic, which has now resulted in more than 54,000 deaths from over one million confirmed cases worldwide, per the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
Infantino—who was first elected FIFA President in February 2016—told ANSA (via Reuters) football will be “more human and more attentive to true values” following such a difficult period:
“Football will come back, and when it does, we’ll celebrate coming out of a nightmare together. 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.”
The topic of when football will—or should—resume has been a fervent one in the weeks since mainstream sport was shelved as a result of the illness’ spread across the globe.
European football’s governing bodies released a letter on Thursday indicating plans to pick up the schedules in July or August, per the New York Times’ Tariq Panja:
Many players, managers and club figureheads have reached out and donated their personal funds to help fight COVID-19. Atletico Madrid announced plans for their players and management to take a pay cut of up to 70 percent to help cover the expenses of non-playing members, per Sky Sports, while Lionel Messi confirmed on Monday that Barcelona’s players had done the same, along with any contributions they otherwise wished to make.
British health minister, Matt Hancock, addressed reporters on Thursday and urged Premier League footballers to take salary cuts:
He highlighted the efforts of those working in the publicly funded National Health Service (NHS) and said:
“I think everybody needs to play their part in this national effort and that means Premier League footballers too. The first thing that Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution, take a pay cut.”
Infantino recently told Gazzetta dello Sport it would be right to consider easing football’s congested calendar and hold “fewer, but more competitive, matches to safeguard the health of the players.”