FIFA has rejected President Volodymyr Zelensky’s request to share a message of peace during the World Cup final.

 Zelensky offered to deliver the message to thousands of fans who on Sunday will be attending the stadium in Qatar to watch Argentina face France. He intended to do so through video link.

 The president has frequently used major events, including the Grammys and the Cannes Film Festival, to give speeches highlighting Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and to promote continued support for his embattled nation. He had hoped to appear on screens inside the Lusail Stadium before the match’s kick-off.

 Though it is unclear if Zelensky planned to deliver his video message live or in pre-recorded footage, a source today claimed that FIFA has denied the offer, CNN reports.


 Saying that Zelensky’s office was surprised by the rebuff, the source said, “We thought FIFA wanted to use its platform for the greater good.”

 FIFA has, however, long been clear about its anti-political stance, even fining footballers for wearing red poppies to commemorate the British holiday Remembrance Sunday.

 This year’s World Cup has already garnered controversy over the threat of sanctions for players wearing a “OneLove” armband during matches to support the LGBT community.

 At a news conference today, FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, confirmed that FIFA had stopped “political statements” in Qatar to “take care of everyone.”

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 “We are a global organization and we don’t discriminate against anyone,” he said. “We are defending values. We are defending human rights and rights of everyone at the World Cup. Those fans and the billions watching on TV, they have their own problems.

 “They just want to watch 90 or 120 minutes without having to think about anything, but just enjoying a little moment of pleasure and joy,” adding, “We have to give them a moment when they can forget about their problems and enjoy football.”

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