NUSA DUA, INDONESIA (AFP) – The president of the world football body called yesterday for a one-month ceasefire in Ukraine to mark the World Cup, saying sport could bring people together.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, addressing leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies gathered in Bali, said the World Cup opening on Sunday in Qatar could serve as a “positive trigger” in the nearly nine-month invasion of Ukraine.
“My plea to all of you is to think of a temporary ceasefire for one month for the duration of the World Cup,” he told a G20 lunch for the leaders.
If not a full ceasefire, there can be “the implementation of some humanitarian corridors or anything that could lead to the resumption of dialogue,” he said.
Describing football as a unifier, he pointed out that Russia had hosted the 2018 World Cup and that Ukraine is submitting a joint bid with Spain and Portugal for 2030.
“We are not naive to believe that football can solve the world’s problems,” Infantino said.
But the World Cup offered a “unique platform,” he said, as an estimated five billion people – more than half of humanity – are expected to watch on television.
“Let’s take this opportunity to do everything we can to start putting an end to all conflicts,” he said.