Chhetri, Messi part of FIFA's campaign against COVID-19

FIFA and WHO's “Pass the message to kick out coronavirus” campaign features 28 global footballers promoting five steps to follow to avoid the coronavirus.

Sunil Chhetri

Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri is among the 28 footballers who feature in the “Pass the message to kick out coronavirus” campaign which seeks to guide people on the five steps to stay clear of the coronavirus.   -  Screen grab/FIFA TV

FIFA and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have teamed up to combat the coronavirus pandemic by launching a new awareness campaign led by world-renowned footballers, who are calling on all people around the world to follow five key steps to stop the spread of the disease.

The “Pass the message to kick out coronavirus” campaign promotes five key steps for people to follow to protect their health in line with WHO guidance, focused on hand washing, coughing etiquette, not touching your face, physical distance and staying home if feeling unwell.

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The campaign sees 28 top international footballers, including the likes of Sunil Chhetri, Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Buffon, Xavi Hernandez and Carli Lloyd, explaining how to stay clear of the coronavirus by following five simple steps.


“It starts with your hands,” says Alisson Becker, WHO Goodwill ambassador for health promotion, Liverpool FC and Brazil goalkeeper, and The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper, 2019. “Please wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based 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.


“Cover your nose and mouth with a bent elbow or tissue when you sneeze or cough,” says Carli Lloyd two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner from the United States. “Dispose of tissue immediately and wash your hands.”

Droplets spread the coronavirus. By following respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from contracting viruses, such as cold, flu and coronavirus.


“Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent the virus from entering your body,” adds FC Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, The Best FIFA Men’s Player in 2019, and a multiple FIFA Ballon d’Or winner.

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.


“In terms of social interaction, take a step back,” says Han Duan, who represented China PR 188 times in an international career that spanned 11 years. “Stay at least one metre distance from others.”

By maintaining such social distancing, you are helping to avoid breathing in any droplets from someone who sneezes or coughs in close proximity.

Feel – know your symptoms

“If you feel unwell, stay home,” concludes Samuel Eto’o, former FC Barcelona and Cameroon striker, who represented his country 114 times. “Please follow all instructions provided by your local health authorities.”

FIFA has also pledged $10 million to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.

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