ZURICH: FIFA has welcomed a United Nations resolution encouraging all involved in the World Cup finals in Qatar to ensure it leaves a lasting legacy for peace and development in the region.

Qatar’s hosting of the finals in the first Arab World Cup has been the subject of perpetual criticism from human rights and labour organisations.

The UN resolution, passed by the UN General Assembly on April 8, followed a plea by FIFA president Gianni Infantino for leadership, peace and development during his address to the world federation’s congress in Doha one week earlier.

The resolution emphasised that sport, and especially football, thanks to its universal popularity, had an important role to play in the promotion of peace and development, respect for human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Infantino said: “In these difficult times marked by conflicts and divisions, the fact that the UN General Assembly adopts this consensus resolution is a clear signal of the power of football as a tool for mutual understanding, tolerance, inclusion and peace, and is a further recognition to the new FIFA and its important social role the world over.”

The UN text expressed support for the launch of the clumsily-labelled ‘Healthy FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – Creating Legacy for Sport and Health’ partnership with the World Health Organization and the state of Qatar.

This aims, according to FIFA, “to make sure the tournament is a healthy and safe event, including in terms of Covid-19 prevention measures, and is used to promote a healthy lifestyle and create a blueprint to protect health at future mass gatherings.”