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
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."