World Cup organiser FIFA has rejected a request from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to deliver a message of world peace ahead of the tournament’s final in Qatar on Sunday, CNN reported.
As per the outlet, Mr Zelensky wanted to deliver a message via video to fans in the stadium in Qatar ahead of the game but was surprised by the negative response. However. CNN reported that talks between Ukraine and the sport’s governing body are still ongoing.
The Ukrainian President has repeatedly appealed for peace and assistance on the world stage at government and cultural events, including to Israel’s parliament, US lawmakers, the Grammy Awards, the Cannes Film Festival and the G20 summit. Mr Zelensky has also done interviews and conversations with a diverse array of journalists and famous entertainers, including Sean Paul and David Letterman.
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FIFA, on the other hand, has gone to extreme lengths to keep political messaging out of its showcase tournament in Qatar. According to CNN, criticism of Qatar’s treatment of LGBTQ people and migrant workers grew louder in the weeks leading up to the World Cup. To this, FIFA boss Gianni Infantino responded with an explosive tirade and accused Europe and the West of hypocrisy.
FIFA also banned players from wearing rainbow-themed anti-discrimination armbands and barred fans from displaying flags besides those of the teams at play and other political messaging. However, the world cup organisers have made an exception for the Palestinian flag, which has been featured predominantly during the games.
Meanwhile, Russia’s team was banned from the tournament after the invasion of Ukraine. Russian forces have been pounding Ukraine with missile barrages in recent weeks, hitting energy infrastructure in an apparent attempt to freeze Ukrainians into submission during the winter.
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