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FIFA boss calls for a ‘World Cup ceasefire’ between Russia and Ukraine because sport ‘unites the world’

FIFA boss calls for a ‘World Cup ceasefire’ between Russia and Ukraine because sport ‘unites the world’

Gianni Infantino said Russia should at least implement humanitarian corridors so refugees could flee Ukraine safely.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has begged for a one-month ceasefire in Ukraine during the World Cup because sport ‘unites’ nations.

The FIFA boss called on Russia to halt their attacks on the eastern European country while the highly anticipated tournament is underway.

While speaking with world leaders in Indonesia during the 17th Group of Twenty (G20) summit, Mr Infantino said that the World Cup could serve as a platform to bring the conflict to an end.

He said: “Football is a force for good. We are not naïve to believe that football can solve the world’s problems.

Zulkarnain/Xinhua/Alamy Live News

“We know that our main focus as a sports organisation is and should be sports, but because Football Unites the World, this particular FIFA World Cup, with five billion people watching it, can be a trigger for a positive gesture, for a sign or a message of hope.”

He said he wishes for a ‘temporary ceasefire’ for the duration of the FIFA World Cup, or at ‘least the implementation of 'humanitarian corridors’.

“You are the world leaders; you have the ability to influence the course of history," Infantino said.

He added: “Football and the FIFA World Cup are offering you and the world a unique platform of unity and peace all over the world.

“So let’s take this opportunity to do everything we can to start putting an end to all conflicts.”

Although Russia reached the quarter-finals of the last World Cup in 2018, the team was banned from the 2022 tournament over its invasion of Ukraine.

mohamed abdelrazek / Alamy Stock Photo

Mr Infantino also noted how Russia hosted the last tournament in 2018 and is now bidding to host it again in 2030.

He continued: “Football is an investment in our children, for our future. Football unites the world, and because football unites the world, the World Cup is an occasion to bring people together in peace and joy, something deeply needed in the turbulent times we live in.”

A similar sentiment was shared by The International Olympic Committee (IOC) in February.

The committee condemned the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian government while the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics were still going.

IOC President Thomas Bach called for peace at the opening ceremony of Beijing’s games.

During the closing ceremony, Bach echoed his plea, asking for political leaders to be ‘to be inspired’ by the ‘example of solidarity and peace’ from Olympic athletes.

Featured Image Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo. Thomas Krych / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, Sport, World Cup, Football, Russia, Ukraine, World News