Saudi legend Sami Al Jaber joins Lionel Messi and other football stars in fight against Coronavirus

Sami Al-Jaber, one of Saudi Arabia’s greatest footballers, has lent his voice to a new campaign from FIFA aimed at raising awareness of the coronavirus crisis and how to combat it. with the likes of Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o. (Screenshot/FIFA)
Short Url
Updated 27 March 2020

Saudi legend Sami Al Jaber joins Lionel Messi and other football stars in fight against Coronavirus

  • FIFA and WHO teamed up to fight the spread of the COVID-19

DUBAI: Sami Al-Jaber, one of Saudi Arabia’s greatest footballers, has lent his voice to a new campaign from FIFA aimed at raising awareness of the coronavirus crisis and how to combat it.
The initiative, which sees FIFA and the World Health Organization (WHO) teaming up to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus, includes current and former international superstars like Lionel Messi, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Gary Lineker and Carles Puyol and calls on people around the world to follow five key steps to ensure safety against 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.
“We need teamwork to combat the coronavirus,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “FIFA has teamed up with WHO because health comes first. I call upon the football community worldwide to join us in supporting this campaign to pass the message even further. Some of the greatest players to have played the beautiful game have put their names to the campaign and are united in their desire to pass the message to kick out COVID-19.”
Twenty-eight players are involved in the video campaign, which is being published in 13 languages.
In the Arabic language video, Al Jaber, who represented Saudi Arabia at four World Cup from 1994 to 2006, is joined by former Egypt, Ajax, Roma and Tottenham forward Mido, as they talk football fans through the five steps.

 

 


“FIFA and its President Gianni Infantino have been actively involved in passing the message against this pandemic since the very beginning,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the virtual launch of the campaign at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Be it through campaigns or funding, FIFA has stood up to the coronavirus, and I am delighted that world football is supporting WHO to kick out the coronavirus. I have no doubt with this type of support that together we will win.”

 


Muslim Premier League stars join initiative to help UK’s health service fight coronavirus

Updated 09 April 2020

Muslim Premier League stars join initiative to help UK’s health service fight coronavirus

  • The NHS Charities thanked the players for the initiative

LONDON: Muslim football stars Riyad Mahrez and Xherdan Shaqiri are among 150 Premier League players who announced an initiative to help fund the UK’s National Heath Service (NHS) in its fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The fund, called “#PlayersTogether,” was revealed in a statement on social media by several of the game’s superstars on Wednesday, including Manchester City’s Algerian striker Mahrez and Liverpool’s Swiss midfielder Shaqiri.

“We can confirm that after extensive conversations between a huge number of players from all Premier League clubs we have created our own collective player initiative, #PlayersTogether, and have partnered with NHS Charities Together in order to assist them in generating and distributing funds quickly and efficiently to where they are needed most,” the statement said.

“It is about we, as players, collaborating together to create a voluntary initiative, separate to any other league and club conversation, to try and help, along with so many others in the country, to make a real difference.”

According to the UK’s Guardian newspaper, alongside Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, the fund will be managed by Manchester United captain Harry Maguire, Watford’s Troy Deeney and West Ham’s Mark Noble.

The NHS Charities thanked the players for the initiative and it was welcomed by the UK’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who had contracted COVID-19.

“Warmly welcome this big-hearted decision from so many Premier League footballers to create #PlayersTogether to support NHS Charities. You are playing your part,” Hancock tweeted after the announcement.

The move follows comments by Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters who admitted the league could lose “at least £1 billion ($1.2 billion)” as a result of the virus and this week suggested a 30 percent pay cut for players, but discussions broke down after the Professional Footballers Association said lost tax receipts would end up hurting the NHS.

The league’s players had been criticized, in particular by Hancock, for not doing enough in contrast with top players from Europe’s other high-profile leagues — such as Spain and Germany — who took significant pay cuts amid the crisis.

Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford acknowledged the criticism his fellow footballers had received and welcomed the initiative.

“I think there has been plenty of occasions, for me personally, where we’ve tried to help but we’ve not helped in the best way possible,” Rashford told BT Sport, adding: “You can get some backlash from that. We wanted to take our time with the decision.”

Other Muslim players from the Premier League have been active in helping the fight against the coronavirus, including United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba who used his 27th birthday to team up with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to raise £27,000 for their work helping the world’s vulnerable children during the crisis.

“It’s my birthday and I’m always grateful that me, my family and friends are healthy. Nonetheless, not everybody is in good health right now. The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting the health and lives of many, including children,” Pogba wrote.

“The impact of a large-scale outbreak, especially on poor and vulnerable children, can be immense.

“UNICEF is helping prevent the spread of coronavirus by supplying vital medical supplies, consulting with communities and implementing prevention campaigns. It is a priority to stop the spread of this new virus, and the misinformation that’s spreading alongside it. At times like this we need to come together.”

Arsenal’s German superstar Mesut Ozil also invited fans to share pictures of them proving they are staying at home with any of his replica jerseys, promising to share the best images on his social media channels and an invitation for two people to an Arsenal match at Emirates Stadium.