FIFA boss calls for cease-fire in Ukraine during World Cup
The head of international soccer body FIFA on Tuesday called for a cease-fire in Ukraine during the 2022 World Cup, which will begin next week in Qatar.
Gianni Infantino addressed world leaders at the Group of Twenty (G-20) summit in Indonesia, telling them soccer was a “force for good” and could be a “trigger for a positive gesture, for a sign or a message of hope,” according to comments posted on FIFA’s website.
“We are not naïve to believe that football can solve the world’s problems,” Infantino said, but added that “maybe the current World Cup starting in five days can really be that positive trigger.”
Infantino said his “plea” was for world leaders to “think on a temporary ceasefire for one month for the duration of the FIFA World Cup.”
“Or anything that could lead to the resumption of dialogue as a first step to peace,” the FIFA chief added. “You are the world leaders; you have the ability to influence the course of history.”
The war in Ukraine has dragged on for nearly nine months and there is no clear end in sight, even amid mounting Russian losses.
The U.S. has reportedly privately urged Ukraine to signal its openness to peace talks, though the Biden administration says it will not try to force Ukraine to the negotiating table.
Russia was kicked out of the 2022 World Cup days after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine in late February.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky outlined a path toward peace in an address to the G-20 on Tuesday, but said he would not compromise on ceding territory or sovereignty to Russia.
Infantino on Tuesday said soccer “unites the world” and that the World Cup was offering a bridge toward resolving the conflict.
“Football and the FIFA World Cup are offering you and the world a unique platform of unity and peace all over the world,” he said to the G-20 leaders. “So let’s take this opportunity to do everything we can to start putting an end to all conflicts.”
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