Fifa President Gianni Infantino called on Tuesday to observe a month-long ceasefire in Ukraine, the time of the 2022 World Cup, assuring that sport could play a unifying role.

“My appeal to all of you is to consider a month-long temporary ceasefire for the duration of the World Cup,” he said at a luncheon for G20 leaders. gathered on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Vladimir Putin is conspicuously absent from this gathering of the leaders of the major economies of the planet where Russia is represented by its head of diplomacy Sergei Lavrov.

In the absence of a truce, the sports manager, who had been decorated by the head of the Kremlin after the 2018 World Cup, spoke of the possibility of “humanitarian corridors where anything that could lead to the resumption of dialogue”.

He praised the unifying role of football, recalling that Russia had organized the 2018 World Cup and that Ukraine was a candidate to host the competition in 2030 with Spain and Portugal.

“We are not so naive as to think football can solve the world’s problems,” he conceded. But the World Cup offers a unique platform, with an estimated audience of five billion spectators, providing an “opportunity to do everything possible to end all conflict”, he argued.

In preparation for the tournament, which begins on November 20, Qatar has faced widespread criticism over its treatment of migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ+ community.

World Cup organizers hit back by insisting that “no country was perfect”.

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Peggy McColl

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