FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who is in Bali attending the G20 Summit, Tuesday called for a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine and recalled that the former hosted the 2018 World Cup finals and the latter is vying to co-organize the 2030 event with Spain and Portugal.
My appeal to all of you is to value a temporary one-month ceasefire for the duration of the World Cup, Infantino said over lunch with the G20 leaders, except Argentine President Alberto Fernández, who was recovering from a bout of low blood pressure and Vladimir Putin, who skipped the event altogether.
The proposal echoed the aims of the Olympic Truce — a United Nations-backed modern renewal of the ancient Greek tradition during competitions, even though Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, four days after the closing ceremony at the Beijing Winter Games.
Infantino also suggested that if no truce can be agreed upon, the possibility of humanitarian corridors or anything that could lead to resuming dialogue needed to be explored.
The FIFA boss underlined the importance of football as a common ground to unite the different peoples of the world, although he admitted that we are not naïve enough to think that football can solve the world's problems.
However, he insisted on the World Cup as a unique platform with an estimated audience of five billion viewers offering an opportunity to do everything possible to put an end to all conflicts.
Infantino's remarks came just a few days ahead of the 2022 edition of the tournament starting this coming Sunday in Qatar, a country marred by controversy over its outdated legislation regarding LGBT+ relationships.
Before the 2018 World Cup, Infantino and Putin worked closely together in finalizing the last details of the event.
It was unclear if a ceasefire would be welcomed by Ukraine's people and its president Volodymyr Zelensky, who during his video appearance at the G20 Summit called for a complete withdrawal of Russian troops.
Ukraine has teamed with Spain and Portugal jointly host the 2030 World Cup. The proposal will face a fierce fight from the four-nation consortium of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The latter hosted the first-ever World Cup in 1930, beating Argentina 4-2 for the title. The quartet counts on the uniqueness of the 100th anniversary to outbid the European trio.
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