Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that the world still hears his call for peace despite FIFA’s decision to refuse to allow a video message to be broadcast ahead of the World Cup final in Qatar.
Zelensky had requested the broadcast of the video, including his call for a global peace conference to help resolve the war sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He said Ukrainian soccer players and other officials had posted the message.
“Although FIFA prevented the broadcast of this message in the stadium before the final match in Qatar, the world still heard our plea,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address to the Ukrainians.
He said the World Cup was the core of the quest to win.
“But the competition is on the field, not on the battlefield. The worst that can happen is a red card, 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.
Our show [a] Formula for world peace. Totally fair. “We presented it because there are no heroes in war and there can be no equal,” Zelensky said in a video released by his office.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February, and the conflict has killed thousands of civilians and displaced millions from their homes.
“I announce the initiative to hold a global peace formula summit this winter. The summit is to unite all countries of the world around the cause of world peace. The stadium stands are empty after the match, and after the war the cities remain empty.” said the Ukrainian president.
Russian news agencies reported that Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin “warmly congratulated” Argentine President Alberto Fernandez on Argentina’s victory over France in the World Cup final at Lusail Stadium in Doha on Sunday.
Ukraine’s aide to the presidency, Mykhailo Podolyak, said on Twitter that FIFA “shows a lack of understanding of the catastrophe that the Russian Federation is dragging into the world by waging a war in Ukraine”.
FIFA rejects any political messages in organizing the World Cup matches.
The global television audience for Sunday’s final was expected to be in the hundreds of millions.