WTO wants to partner with FIFA to help transform lives of people in developing countries using football.
The Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, praised football’s ability to bring people together during a question-and-answer session on the opening day of the WTO Public Forum alongside the FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
The encounter, at the WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, took place after FIFA and WTO signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
The MOU allows both organisation to look at ways of using football to promote economic inclusion, particularly in developing countries.
“At a time where global solidarity is fragile and there is a lot of tension, to find something that brings global solidarity, that can unify us across colour, across race, across every divide, regions. it’s pretty amazing,” the WTO Director-General said. “Everybody gets excited at football. It’s the ability to build this solidarity that is so fascinating to me.”WTO Director-General, ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The FIFA President stressed that there are significant revenues generated through professional football activities in Europe.
The revenue accounts for 70% of that sector globally, meaning that there remains untapped resources elsewhere.
“(This) means there is a huge, huge potential in the rest of the world to still develop, to give every talent everywhere in the world a real chance, to bring a lot of hope and a lot of opportunities to many people around the world,” Gianni Infantino said.
A key part of the partnership will involve co-operation on the WTO’s cotton programme.
Cotton is a particularly important source of livelihoods and export revenue in the “Cotton 4” (c4) countries.
The “Cotton 4” countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali.
FIFA and the WTO will look at ways to boost the sourcing of cotton used in sportswear from those nations.