FIFA to ask every country to name a stadium in honour of Pele – Gianni Infantino

FIFA will ask every country in the world to name a stadium in honour of Pele, its president Gianni Infantino said on Monday.

The Brazil great, who won the World Cup three times and scored over 1,000 goals in his career, died on December 29 aged 82 after a battle with cancer.

On Monday, his coffin was placed on the centre circle of the Urbano Caldeira stadium in Sao Paulo, home of his former club Santos, where it will lie in state before a private burial on Tuesday.

Brazil Pele
Thousands of fans gathered outside the stadium waiting to pay their respects to Pele (Matias Delacroix/AP)

Infantino, who was in Brazil for Pele’s funeral in Sao Paulo, told local reporters: “We’re going to ask every country in the world to name one of their football stadiums with the name of Pele.”

In April 2021, Rio de Janeiro abandoned plans to name the famous Maracana Stadium after Pele after it was vetoed by the state governor.

Former Brazil midfielder Ze Roberto and Pele’s son Edinho were among those who placed his coffin on the pitch during a ceremony on Monday.

Thousands of fans have queued to enter the ground to see Pele’s funeral.

Brazil’s government had announced three days of mourning following the death of Pele, who had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer.

Infantino released a statement on the day of Pele’s death which began: “For everyone who loves the beautiful game, this is the day we never wanted to come. The day we lost Pele.”

Brazil Pele
Pele’s coffin will lie in state before a private burial on Tuesday (Andre Penner/AP)

He described Pele as an “exemplary sportsman” and added: “Pele had a magnetic presence and, when you were with him, the rest of the world stopped.

“His life is about more than football. He changed perceptions for the better in Brazil, in South America and across the world. His legacy is impossible to summarise in words.”