Before the 2022 FIFA World Cup, FIFA, the World Health Organization (WHO), and Qatar have teamed up to use the giant football event to promote health and wellbeing.
The three-year joint project, titled "Healthy 2022 World Cup - Creating Legacy for Sport and Health," aims to put the promotion of healthy lives, health security, and physical and mental wellbeing at the heart of world football's pinnacle event, which will take place in the Gulf state next year from November 21 to December 18.
One of the project's main objectives is to establish and translate best practices in health promotion, security, and safety from the 2022 FIFA World Cup for use at other significant athletic events across the world.
"I'd like to express my gratitude to Minister Al Kuwari and the State of Qatar for collaborating with WHO to make the 2022 FIFA World Cup a model for healthy sporting events," said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghrebreyesus. "WHO is committed to working with Qatar and FIFA to help people live the healthiest and safest lives possible by leveraging the global power of football."
"Because the Qatar tournament will be the first FIFA World Cup held during the pandemic, it will provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate how sport can promote health now and provide a lasting legacy for organizing healthy sporting events as the world recovers from the pandemic," Tedros added.
Supporting people to live healthy lifestyles, including physical activity, healthy diets, and tobacco cessation and control; promoting health security, ensuring mass gatherings and events are secure, and health advocacy and awareness-raising will be the key topics of the project.
"The State of Qatar is proud to be the first Middle Eastern country to host the FIFA World Cup," stated Qatar's Minister of Public Health, Dr. Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari. Our goal, however, is to host not only a successful sporting event but also the healthiest sporting event conceivable. It is for this reason that WHO has partnered with us."
"We are excited to collaborate closely with WHO, FIFA, and other partners on this new project to deliver a fantastic, healthy World Cup and leave a legacy that supports the future staging of healthy, sustainable, and safe mega sporting events."
Qatar was chosen to host the World Cup in 2010, making it the first Middle Eastern country. It will be the first FIFA World Cup since the outbreak.
"In the last two years, FIFA and WHO have doubled our efforts to promote the importance of physical and mental health to millions of people around the world, especially in light of the global challenges posed by COVID-19," FIFA President Gianni Infantino stated.
"From elite players to grassroots teams, we are committed to working with the world of football to spread the message of health for all."
"The WHO's new project with Qatar complements FIFA's collaboration with both sides perfectly." We will harness the power of sports as a catalyst for a safer and healthier society if we work together."
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to the critical need for physical activity for mental and bodily wellbeing. According to the WHO, if the global population was more active, up to five million deaths may be avoided each year.
According to WHO data, one out of every four adults and four out of every five adolescents do not get enough physical activity. It is anticipated that this will cost $54 billion in direct health care and another $14 billion in lost productivity globally.