FIFA President Gianni Infantino has made a direct plea to world leaders gathered in Indonesia for the 17th Group of Twenty (G20) summit to call for ceasefire during FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and to begin dialogue as a first step to bring the conflict in Russia and Ukraine to an end.
Addressing assembled heads of state at the intergovernmental forum, which comprises of 19 countries and the European Union, the FIFA President said: “Football is a force for good. We are not naïve to believe that football can solve the world’s problems. 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.”
The FIFA President’s speech recognised the current uncertainty in the world, and identified countries involved in current conflict. “Russia hosted the last World Cup in 2018, and Ukraine is bidding to host the World Cup in 2030,” the FIFA President said, when identifying their 2030 bid together with Portugal and Spain, among other bidders.
“Maybe, the current World Cup, starting in five days, can really be that positive trigger. So my plea, to all of you, is to think on a temporary ceasefire, for one month, for the duration of the FIFA World Cup, or at least the implementation of humanitarian corridors, or anything that could lead to the resumption of dialogue as a first step to peace. You are the world leaders; you have the ability to influence the course of history.”
“Football and the FIFA World Cup are offering you and the world a unique platform of unity and peace all over the world,” President Infantino added. “So let’s take this opportunity to do everything we can to start putting an end to all conflicts.”
Infantino was speaking five days before the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup begins in Qatar, and the day after football’s global governing body launched the Football Unites the World campaign – in which a host of international stars joined forces to illustrate football’s unrivalled ability to bring people together, a campaign that will run throughout the FIFA World Cup.
“You all know what football means to your people and to your countries; it is about passion, it is about inclusion, it is about tolerance, it is about non-discrimination, and it is about education,” President Infantino 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.”
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 kicks off on Sunday 20 November, which the host nation takes on Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium. The tournament will end at Lusail Stadium, where the final will take place on Sunday 18 December.