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Sunil Chhetri, Lionel Messi, Xavi among 28 players in FIFA campaign to kick out Coronavirus

Sunil Chhetri, Lionel Messi, Xavi among 28 players in FIFA campaign to kick out Coronavirus as the Indian captain features in a video message

New Delhi, March 24: Talismanic Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri was picked among 28 past and present stars for world governing body FIFA's campaign to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

FIFA and the World Health Organization (WHO) have teamed up to combat the coronavirus 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.

The 28 players, who will be involved in the video campaign to be published in 13 languages, include some of the best known players like Argentine superstar Lionel Messi and World Cup winners like Philip Lahm, Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol.

"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," he said in a FIFA release.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: "We need teamwork to combat the coronavirus. 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," he said.

The Players: Sami Al Jaber (Saudi Arabia), Alisson Becker (Brazil), Emre Belozoglu (Turkey), Jared Borgetti (Mexico), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Sunil Chhetri (India), Youri Djorkaeff (France), Han Duan (China), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroom), Radamel Falcao (Colombo), Laura Georges (France), Valeri Karpin (Russia), Miroslav Klose (Germany), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Gary Lineker (England), Carli Lloyd (USA), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Mido (Egypt), Michael Owen (England), Park Ji-sung (South Korea), Carles Puyol (Spain), Celia Sasic (Germany), Asako Takakura (Japan), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast), Juan Sebastian Veron (Argentina), Sun Wen (China), Xavi Hernandez (Spain).

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Story first published: Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 10:50 [IST]
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