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FIFA president calls for ceasefire in Ukraine

By Martin Lipton in Doha

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has called for a World Cup ceasefire in Ukraine – and urged world political leaders to intervene.

The Swiss boss, addressing the G20 summit of top political leaders in Bali, said: “We are not naive enough to believe that football can solve the world’s problems.

“For that, you are here.

“We know that our primary focus as a sports organization is, and should be, sport.

“And because football unites the world, this particular World Cup, with five billion people watching it, can be the trigger for a positive gesture.

“For a sign, or a message, of hope.”

Infantino then directly pointed to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, where the tide of battle appears to be turning decisively against the Russians.

He added: “Dear leaders, Russia hosted the last World Cup in 2018.

“Ukraine is a candidate to host the World Cup in 2030.

“Maybe, maybe the current World Cup, which starts in four or five days, can really be that positive trigger.

“So my appeal to all of you is to think about a temporary ceasefire for a month, for the duration of the World Cup.

“Or at least the establishment of certain humanitarian corridors or anything that could lead to the resumption of dialogue as a first step towards peace.

“You are the world leaders. You have the ability to influence the course of history.

“Football and the World Cup provide you and the world with a unique platform for unity and peace, everywhere.”

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