Stephen Dunmoye

FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, has called on Russia and Ukraine to ceasefire for the duration of the World Cup in Qatar, adding that World Cup provide a unique platform for peace and unity.

He made this known during a summit of the G20 group of major economies in Indonesia.

The World Cup begins in Qatar on Sunday amid widespread criticism of the country’s human rights record, particularly regarding the workers who built the stadiums.

According to him, “the World Cup provided a ‘unique platform’ for peace and unity because the event would be watched by some five billion people on television.

“So, my plea with all of you is to stay on a temporary ceasefire for one month for the duration of the World Cup”

As an alternative, he proposed some humanitarian corridors ‘or anything that could lead to the resumption of dialogue’ as the first step to peace.

“You are the world leaders, you have the ability to influence the course of history,” he added.

Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, urged governments to send athletes to international events based on their sporting merit, not political affiliations.

“International sports will fall apart if participation is decided on political grounds.

“We need the participation of all athletes who accept rules, especially if their countries are in confrontation,” Bach told the same gathering in Bali.

Various international sports organisations have imposed sanctions on Russia and its athletes following its invasion of Ukraine.