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FIFA Bags Top Health Award - World Cup to be Tobacco Free

The World Health Organization’s highest tobacco control award will be given to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in recognition of its tobacco control work, culminating in its decision to declare the 2002 World Cup tobacco free. The award will be given to FIFA on 28 May 2002 during the 53rd FIFA Congress in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

''Sports and tobacco do not mix. We have a common goal: that all sports are free from tobacco,'' said Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General, World Health Organization. "FIFA's decision to back our public cause is a significant step towards achieving this goal. The world's biggest sporting event is now tobacco free."

"We hope our joint message will be heard loud and clear by sports organizations, sports fans and athletes all over the world,'' she added.

The Director-General's award is given to people and organizations who have shown exceptional courage and vision in tobacco control. Among the past recipients are the King of Thailand, the current Foreign Minister of South Africa and the former Attorney General of Minnesota, USA.

The games' kick-off on 31st May happens also to be the day WHO's 191 Member States have designated to mark World No Tobacco Day to raise national and international awareness about tobacco control issues.

As part of a Memorandum of Cooperation signed between WHO and FIFA, there will be no tobacco advertising or promotion at World Cup venues and tobacco and tobacco products will not be sold at the games in Korea and Japan. There will be no smoking in public areas. Specially designated smoking zones will be few and clearly demarcated, situated away from the general public, protecting them from exposure to second-hand smoke. Frequent public announcements will inform and remind the public about the tobacco-free policy.

In addition, public service announcements on World No Tobacco Day and Tobacco Free Sports will be broadcast during the opening match. These spots will also be contained in the basic broadcast material sent out to international broadcasters and will be aired all over the world.

"Since 1986, FIFA and indeed the other sponsor companies have rejected tobacco companies from the pool of official sponsors of the World Cup or any other FIFA competition. That’s why FIFA has been very ready to work with WHO to see how we can use the World Cup to reflect modern knowledge and modern awareness of the dangers of tobacco use," said Keith Cooper, FIFA Director of Communications.

For more information on World No Tobacco Day and Tobacco Free Sports, visit: www.who.int/tobacco.

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For more information contact:

Reshma Prakash
Telephone: (+41 22) 791 3443
Fax: (+41 22) 791 4832
E-mail: prakashr@who.int