Fifa president Gianni Infantino calls for World Cup ‘ceasefire’ in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

The tournament begins in Qatar on Sunday

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Gianni Infantino has called on Russia and Ukraine to use the World Cup as an opportunity for a “ceasefire” between the two countries.

The tournament begins in Qatar on Sunday and the Fifa president has urged all sides to use the tournament as a “positive trigger” to work towards a resolution.

Speaking during a lunch with leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies in Bali, Infantino said the month-long showpiece offers a unique platform for peace.

“My plea to all of you, to think on a temporary ceasefire for one month for the duration of the World Cup, or at least the implementation of some humanitarian corridors or anything that could lead to the resumption of dialogue as a first step to peace,” he said.

“You’re the world leaders, you have the ability to influence the course of history. Football and the World Cup are offering you and the world a unique platform of unity and peace all over the world.”

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Russia reached the quarter-finals of the last World Cup in 2018 but were banned from this tournament over the invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine came close to qualifying for Qatar but lost out to Wales in a deciding play-off in June.

Infantino noted Russia hosted the 2018 edition and Ukraine is bidding to hold the 2030 contest, while as many as 5.5 billion people are expected to watch this year’s event, which could give a message of hope.

“Maybe the current World Cup, starting in five days can be that positive trigger,” he added.

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