Infantino at the FIGC's headquarters: “The whole world is filled with admiration for how Italy responded”

The FIFA President and Gravina met with Prime Minister Conte: “The Prime Minister has closely listened to the concerns of the football world. The reopening of stadiums will have to wait until school activities have got going again.”

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Infantino at the FIGC's headquarters: “The whole world is filled with admiration for how Italy responded”

Italy was chosen by Gianni Infantino for his first trip abroad following the long break caused by the COVID-19 emergency, the nation where his parents were born and which the FIFA president defines as ‘my country’: “Given what the country has been through, it seemed right to start from Italy, where I’d like to send out the following message: FIFA lends its full support, the whole world is with Italy and is filled with admiration for how the country and the football authorities responded. Great credit must go to Gabriele Gravina, it wasn’t easy.”

Before meeting the Italian and international press at the FIGC’s headquarters in Rome, FIFA’s number one and Gabriele Gravina met with Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the Palazzo Chigi. Among the topics addressed was the resumption of football activities, which also involved discussing the reopening of stadiums: “Football without fans isn’t the same,” said Infantino. “However, health is more important. We need to work and see what happens, with people starting to come into close contact again. Our objective is to have fans back in stadiums once more, but we want to work on a return to normality in a calm and professional manner without setting any deadlines.” After thanking Infantino for “the love that he’s shown our country and the sensitivity he’s displayed”, FIGC President Gravina emphasised how the Prime Minister had closely listened to the concerns of the football world: “When it comes to stadiums, there needs to be a gradual reopening, but this will have to wait until school activities have got going again. The latter will begin first, and then we’ll gradually assess the possibility of reopening stadiums.”

During the meeting, Gravina presented Conte with the new National Team shirt, one which was signed by the Azzurri players who were involved in Italy’s two recent Nations League matches against Bosnia & Herzegovina and the Netherlands. A discussion took place about limiting swabs, with the aim being to fully safeguard the health of players but guarantee more flexibility: “We hope to be able to align ourselves with the rules in place in the rest of Europe in such a way that our athletes don’t experience procedures which are too invasive,” said Gravina. “We were able to talk to Health Minister Speranza, and tomorrow a hearing is scheduled between Sports Minister Spadafora and the government’s Scientific Technical Committee to address this topic.”

In order to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic on national federations, FIFA are implementing an extensive economic support plan: “We’ve invested one and a half billion dollars in 211 countries,” said Infantino. “In doing so, we’ve prioritised grassroots, women’s football and the amateur game. If more support is needed, we’ll do more. We are also concerned for clubs. It’s obvious that the financial impact will be huge, not helped by the fact that we don’t know when it will come to an end. We need to think about the future. We’ll all come out of this crisis together as one: UEFA, FIFA, clubs and federations.”

Infantino then turned his thoughts to Zaniolo: “A big hug to Nicolò following his injury, he’ll undoubtedly return stronger than before.”