Infantino can see football reform amid coronavirus caution
ROME – FIFA boss Gianni Infantino and retired star Fabio Cannavaro expressed similar cautious opinions on the restart of football as the world struggles to subdue the coronavirus pandemic.
"Health first, then the rest," Infantino, who turned 50 on Monday, told Italian daily newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"And the rest, for officials, means hoping for the best and readying for the worst. Without panic, let's say it clearly. We'll play again when we can do it without putting anybody's health at risk."
The Swiss-Italian president of the world ruling body urged football federations and leagues to follow the recommendations of governments and of the World Health Organization, calling "heroes" the doctors and nurses who risk their lives as they treat infected people.
Infantino spoke of the difficulties in harmonizing disrupted international and local calendars, with footballers contracts also to be discussed as league seasons are likely to be stretched beyond their scheduled dates.
He also looked at potential long-term effects of the crisis.
"We could possibly reform football taking a step back," he said, "with different formats and fewer events, but more interesting. It's not science fiction, let's talk about it."
Cannavaro, a 2006 world champion with Italy, now coaching China champions Guangzhou Evergrande, spoke to Italy's public broadcaster Radio 1.
He said he will complete a home quarantine on Friday, two weeks after re-entering China from abroad.
He said he expects it will take until mid-April for the start of the Chinese Super League, which was originally to start on February 22 and to end on October 31.
In China, where the pandemic begun in December, contagion is now said to be under control, while Italy is the worst hit country in the world, with 5,476 victims as of late Sunday and close to 60,000 people infected. Fifteen cases have been reported in the Serie A.
"We had no positive cases in our team," Cannavaro said, "but you have to be very careful."dpa