Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday that the world had still heard his call for peace despite a decision by soccer’s governing body FIFA to refuse to broadcast a video message ahead of the World Cup final in Qatar. Zelensky asked for the video to be aired, including his call for a global peace conference to help resolve the war sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian football players and other officials published the report, he said.
“Even though FIFA blocked the broadcast of this message in the stadium before the final match in Qatar, the world still heard our call,” Zelenskiy said in his video address to Ukrainians overnight. According to him, the World Cup was the basis of the effort to win. But the competition is on the field and not on the battlefield. The worst that can happen is a red card — and not a red button,” he said, referring to the possibility of a nuclear strike.
CNN reported on Friday that Zelenskiy had asked FIFA to allow him to share a message of peace before the final. “We offered the world (a) peace formula. Absolutely fair. We offered it because there are no champions in war, there can be no draw,” Zelenskiy said in a video released by his office. Russia invaded Ukraine in February in what it calls a “special military operation.” The conflict has killed thousands of civilians and displaced millions from their homes.
“I am announcing the initiative to hold this winter the Global Peace Formula Summit. A summit to unite all the nations of the world around the cause of global peace. The stands of the stadiums will be emptied after the match and the cities will remain empty after the war,” said the Ukrainian president. Russian news agencies said Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin “warmly congratulated” Argentine President Alberto Fernandez on Sunday for Argentina’s victory over France in the World Cup final at Doha’s Lusail Stadium.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an aide to the Ukrainian president, said on Twitter that FIFA “shows a lack of understanding of the disaster that the Russian Federation is dragging the world into by starting a war in Ukraine.” FIFA rejects any political messages when organizing World Cup matches. Worldwide television viewing for Sunday’s final was expected to be in the hundreds of millions.
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