Zelensky says FIFA blocked peace message before World Cup final
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday evening FIFA prevented a message he wanted to have broadcast before the soccer World Cup Final in Qatar about his proposed Global Peace Formula Summit this winter.
Driving the news: Zelensky wanted his video message to be broadcast before the final that Argentina won against France in a penalty kick shootout, which was watched by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, CNN first reported. But Zelensky said his message still got through.
- Zelensky in a televised address thanked Ukrainian soccer stars and other players for sharing the video, along with news outlets.
- "Although FIFA blocked this address from being shown at the stadium before the final game in Qatar, the world still heard our call," Zelensky said.
Zoom in: Zelensky noted the FIFA World Cup Final in Qatar represented the meaning of soccer as everyone can show their strength.
- "But the competition is on the playing field, not on the battlefield. And the worst thing that can happen is a red card, not a red button," he said, referring to concerns of a possible Russian nuclear attack. "When people are united by football, people are united by peace."
The big picture: FIFA policy is to remain politically neutral, though soccer's world governing body suspended Russia's national and club teams from all international competition following Russian forces' invasion of Ukraine.
- Representatives for FIFA did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.