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It seems not everyone is as enthralled with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as the American media is.
The 2022 Time Magazine Person of the Year asked to appear via video to deliver a message of peace at the World Cup Final. FIFA declined.
Not used to being told no, the office of the president was reportedly shocked. After all, Zelensky was welcomed with open arms at the Grammys and the Cannes Film Festival.
“We thought FIFA wanted to use its platform for the greater good,” a source inside Zelensky’s office told CNN.
This news comes just as Russia unleashed one of its biggest attacks in the war on Friday. Still, Zelesnky’s team says it has not given up and that talks are still underway.
FIFA Ain’t Having It
The governing body’s decision to reject Zelensky’s message should surprise exactly no one. FIFA has made it clear they refuse to allow the spread of political messages during the tournament.
FIFA threatened to penalize and sanction teams for wearing “OneLove” armbands in support of LGBTQ rights during the events in Qatar, where same-sex relationships are illegal. They also supported Qatar’s last-minute decision to ban beer sales, stating that Western nations have no moral authority over the host country.
“It is not about prohibiting. It’s about respecting regulations,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said at a news conference. “On the field of play, we play football.”
He continued, “We have to give these people a moment in time where they can forget their problems and enjoy football. Outside of the match, everybody can express their views and opinions.”
It’s worth noting, though, that while Infantino claims to want no political messaging present at the World Cup, he has spent plenty of time defending Qatar. Despite the Middle Eastern country’s egregious human rights violations, Infantino says the rest of us should worry about our own past indescretions.
“We are taught many, many lessons from some Europeans, from the Western world,” he said. “I’m European. Actually, I am European. Not just I feel European. I think for what we Europeans have been doing in the last 3,000 years around the world, we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons to people.”
A lovely moral lesson from the man who says not to give moral lessons.