FIFA president Infantino calls for calm over coronavirus outbreak

Gianni Infantino (Getty Images)
Gianni Infantino (Getty Images)

Cape Town - FIFA president Gianni Infantino has urged football authorities "not to panic" over the coronavirus outbreak as sport responds to growing concerns.

Addressing UEFA's member associations at the governing body's Congress meeting in Amsterdam, Infantino called for both calm and a united approach to the issue.

He said: "Some of you have had to take important decisions in this respect. Every competition organiser has to study it of course and has to take decisions.

"It is important to consider all the information from the authorities, but it's also important not to panic.

"Those who have to take decisions, like happened in Switzerland, will take decisions and then be able to move forward.

"Someone said to me football can be an antidote to coronavirus. I wouldn't go that far, but sometimes football is an antidote to many other illnesses like discrimination and racism, and this is a fight we need to fight altogether."

The Swiss government last week banned public events at which more than 1 000 people were expected to be in attendance, with the Swiss Football Association suspending league matches until March 23.

Dominique Blanc, the federation's president, asked at UEFA Congress whether special dispensation could be given to play matches on Champions League and Europa League dates if necessary and whether financial aid may be available to cover the costs of the cancellations.

Blanc said: "We are in a position that could shake professional football to its foundations."

UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis said: "We have anticipated this, and yesterday we had a productive meeting with European Leagues regarding situations like this.

"We have established a working group to find the best possible solutions and apply common sense. Whatever issue there is will be addressed."

- TEAMtalk media

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