FIFA President Gianni Infantino expects soccer to bring people together
Published: Nov 17, 2022 09:33 PM
FIFA President Gianni Infantino Photo: VCG

FIFA President Gianni Infantino Photo: VCG

Soccer is much more than a sport, and has a "unique magic" power to bring people together, said FIFA President Gianni Infantino in an exclusive interview with Xinhua ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

While attending the G20 Summit held in Bali, Indonesia, Infantino called on world leaders to set aside tensions and conflicts, and enjoy the quadrennial soccer event which is scheduled to take place from Sunday to December 18 in Qatar.

"The World Cup should be an occasion for joy and unity. It should send a message of hope," Infantino told Xinhua in a statement.

Infantino said soccer is also an important economic activity with a global GDP of hundreds of billions of dollars, creating millions of jobs and bolstering economic growth. 

"This is about growth, economic growth," said the FIFA head.

Infantino expected the FIFA World Cup in Qatar to be viewed by 5 billion people, more than half of the world's population.

Noting China's plan to bid to host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2031, Infantino said that the move, together with China's involvement in soccer clubs and youth soccer, helps address regional imbalances in soccer development, and is crucial to the overall development of the sport.

"China has to be a key part of growth of football. Bidding for important events has to be an element that makes football grow even more in China, women's or men's football," he said.

He said that FIFA has been discussing how to implement a soccering culture in China, with the hope of making young boys and girls dream of becoming soccer players, and teaching them team spirit and respect for each other.

"Football touches the emotions of people. It is about passion and inclusion," Infantino said.