Please stay healthy – do not smoke, is the message by FIFA Legend, Carles Puyol during the FIFA World Cup holding in Russia. The former Spain defender and FIFA World Cup™ winner is putting his great influence to good use by supporting FIFA’s efforts to make Russia 2018 a smoke-free encounter. He has been appearing in a video that plays on the giant electronic scoreboards in all the stadia.
In the message that comes up Carles Puyol advises fans to follow his example and stay away from smoking. The former Spain star is also seen in a new video being promoted during the World Cup in Russia. Health watchers say we are indeed lucky that FIFA and the LOC are fully committed to creating a safe and healthy environment for the event and beyond.
“There are many numbers that defined my career,” states Puyol in the opening scene of the video. Different numbers then flash across the screen – 693 games, 2 FIFA Club World Cups, 1 FIFA World Cup – in between highlights of Puyol’s distinguished career.
“But one that defined my life,” he emphasises at the end, showing a shirt with the number 0 on it to represent 0 cigarettes. But what is his final appeal? “Stay healthy, don’t smoke,” he says.
For a long time FIFA has been determined in countering the use of tobacco as part of its social responsibility programme. In 1986, the world football body made it known that it would no longer accept advertising from the tobacco industry and since 2002 FIFA World Cups have been free of tobacco.
FIFA’s Tobacco-Free Policy for FIFA Events is coming on the heels of recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for mega-sporting events, and looking to look after the right of people who do not smoke – to breathe clean air that is not polluted by carcinogens and other harmful materials.
Due to this policy, in Russia and of course going by Russian legislation, FIFA and the LOC have made measures available to enlighten football fans once they go past the first gate that smoking is not permitted. This policy also goes for all indoor and outdoor sporting areas, and there are no special smoking areas found in any stadium. FIFA’s eventual objective is to make the environment safe and healthy for all spectators.
The followings are Key dates in FIFA’s work so far towards smoke-free sporting events:
1986: FIFA announced it will no longer accept advertising from tobacco-industry sponsors.
1999: At the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in the USA, FIFA supported an anti-smoking campaign launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
2002: FIFA supported a smoke-free campaign launched by WHO and the HHS. World football’s governing body was as result bestowed with the WHO Director General’s Award for an anti-smoking campaign.
2002: Korea/Japan became the first smoke-free FIFA World Cup, meaning that it had no links whatsoever to tobacco. Every FIFA World Cup since then has followed suit.
2010: FIFA, the LOC and other stakeholders developed and adopted the ‘Stadium Code of Conduct,’ which describes the applicable measures and policies for stadium visitors and staff, including embargo of smoking in the stands and around the playing areas.
2011: FIFA provided input to the European Healthy Stadia Network for policy position and enforcement guidelines for UEFA, concerning a smoke-free UEFA EURO 2012.
2013/2014: The FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA World Cup in Brazil took place as tobacco-free events.
2015: World No Tobacco Day was celebrated as ‘World Smoke Free Day’ at the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015.
2017/2018: Both the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup in Russia were/ are tobacco-free events.