FIFA boss to ask countries to name stadium after Pele

FIFA will ask all the world’s countries to name a stadium after Brazilian football leg­end, Pele, the head of the sport’s governing body, Gianni Infantino, said on Monday at the late icon’s wake.

Infantino was in the city of Santos, Brazil, to pay his final respect to the player widely con­sidered the greatest of all time, who died on Thursday at the age of 82.

“We’re going to ask every country in the world to name one of their football stadiums with the name of Pele,” Infantino told journalists at the Vila Belmiro, the stadium where the player known as “The King” first exploded unto the world stage with his exploits for his long-time club, Santos FC.

Attending the 24-hour wake along with the heads of the South American and Brazilian football confederations, Infantino was among the first to pay homage be­fore Pele’s opened casket, which was displayed in the middle of the field at Vila Belmiro stadium.

“We’re here with great sadness,” Infantino said. “Pele is eternal. He’s a global icon of football.”

FIFA had already flown the flags of the world at half-mast on Friday outside its headquarters in Zurich in honour of Pele, whom the organisation had named the greatest player of the 20th century.

Pele, the only player in history to win three World Cups, died at a Sao Paulo hospital after a long battle with cancer. —AFP

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