Ukraine takes shot at FIFA
Ukraine took a swipe at global football governing body FIFA after the organization rejected a request to show a video message from President Vladimir Zelensky at Sunday’s World Cup final in Qatar.
CNN reported on Friday that Ukraine had asked for a message of “world peace” from Zelensky to be shown before France faced Argentina at the Lusail Stadium.
FIFA denied the plea, with Ukrainian officials reportedly “surprised by the negative response.”
Before the match got underway, Ukrainian government social media accounts laid into the football federation.
“No matter who wins today, FIFA has already lost,” read a caustic tweet.
FIFA was perhaps mindful of keeping any campaigning away from the football, at what is among the most watched events on the planet.
President Gianni Infantino said on the eve of the final in Qatar that fans “have their own problems and just want to spend 90 minutes without having to think about anything else.”
Zelensky touched on the issue in a nightly video address to Ukrainians on Sunday, claiming: “Even though FIFA blocked this message from being aired at the stadium before the final game in Qatar, the world still heard our appeal.”
On the pitch, Argentina defeated defending champions France in a penalty shootout after a thrilling game had ended 3-3.
Lionel Messi captured a title that had previously eluded him during his illustrious career, as Argentina followed World Cup successes in 1978 and 1986.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine had a team at the tournament in Qatar.
FIFA has banned Russian teams from its competitions at all levels because of the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.
That decision deprived Russia of the chance to compete in the European playoffs section of World Cup qualifying back in March.
Ukraine competed in the playoffs but fell short in their final against Wales.