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The COVID-19 continues to be a global threat with many countries currently battling the third wave of this pandemic.1 This pandemic has caused long-term effects in the form of health, human and economic loss along with psychological distress, particularly in low-income countries.
Although vaccination efforts are under way in many countries, vaccine hesitancy, listed as one of global health’s most challenging issues, continues to be a major limitation to curbing the pandemic.2 Moreover, vaccine distribution inequality has emerged as a matter of serious concern, leaving lower-income countries with limited vaccine doses.3
The high visibility of sport provides an opportunity, if not a responsibility, to assist multi-faceted efforts to help mitigate this distressing crisis.
Global focus: on football and health
One of the world’s most-watched sporting events, the FIFA Men’s World Cup, will be hosted in Qatar starting 21 November 2022. The previous edition of this tournament, hosted in Russia, was broadcast to over 3 billion viewers worldwide,4 and Qatar is preparing to welcome over 1.2 million visitors for the upcoming competition.5
Sporting events have been used in the past as platforms for spreading important awareness of health issues. This world football championship, involving 32 international teams, is unique given the context of the ongoing pandemic. Currently, FIFA has partnered with the WHO to promote equitable access to vaccines, treatments and diagnostics, and to encourage …
Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. Affiliation 4 has been corrected.
Contributors All authors equally contributed to this work.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.