Indian men’s football team captain Sunil Chhetri on Monday was selected by FIFA along with 28 past and present superstars, including Lionel Messi, for a campaign to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign, named ‘Pass the message to kick out coronavirus’ by FIFA and launched in association with the World Health Organization (WHO), will be led by world-renowned footballers who will urge people to follow five key steps in their fight against the novel coronavirus.

The campaign promotes five key steps for people to follow to protect their health in line with WHO guidance, focused on handwashing, coughing etiquette, not touching your face, physical distance and staying home if feeling unwell.

“FIFA and its President Gianni Infantino have been actively involved in passing the message against this pandemic since the very beginning,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted as saying in a statement on the official website of FIFA.

“We need teamwork to combat the coronavirus. FIFA has teamed up with WHO because health comes first. I call upon the football community worldwide to join us in supporting this campaign to pass the message even further,” FIFA president Infantino said.

Other than Chhetri and Messi, the 28 players, who will be involved in the video campaign to be published in 13 languages, include some of the best-known players like Philip Lahm, Iker Casillas, Carles Puyol, Samuel Eto’o, Alison Becker and Gianluigi Buffon among others.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has already killed more than 16,500 people and infected over 3,81,700 people worldwide, has forced the major sporting events across the globe into a standstill.

The football leagues, including the top five European leagues, and the tournaments, like the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League, have also followed the same footsteps.

The upcoming competitions like the Euro 2020 and Copa America 2020 have been postponed to the next year, while many of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier matches have also been cancelled.

(With PTI inputs)