FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Thursday that the Russian Football Union has not been suspended by FIFA and had participated in a FIFA congress earlier in the day because these occasions help to bring people together, otherwise these congresses do not make any sense
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 31st March, 2022) FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Thursday that the Russian Football Union has not been suspended by FIFA and had participated in a FIFA congress earlier in the day because these occasions help to bring people together, otherwise these congresses do not make any sense.
Earlier in the day, the association held the 72nd FIFA congress in the Qatari capital of Doha. The agenda of the congress included the "suspension or expulsion of a member association." The Congress voted for the suspension of football federations of Zimbabwe, Kenya and Pakistan. The suspension of the Russian Football Union was not on the agenda.
"I sincerely hope that the conflict can end, and we can again, and we will be there the first day to play football again because that is what I think is needed in these countries. So, Russia as a football union like any other federation has not been suspended as such by FIFA, and it has been participating in this congress as well, because if we do not have occasions to bring people together like a congress, you know, then we rather, we rather stop and go home," Infantino told a press conference.
"My plea, and I am really asking and praying for that, everyone, to everyone who has leadership position contribute to, you know, to peace, to stop hostilities, to not escalate, to dialogue. This is a good thing about football that it brings people together. Now we had to suspend Russia and Russian teams from participation. It is not an easy decision, of course not, because it is about people who love football like everyone else, but we had to take that decision, and now we have to look forward and hope that the hostilities can stop, and we can bring a little bit of peace," Infantino said.
Infantino added that FIFA cannot solve conflicts itself; however, it can contribute to solving conflicts by bringing people together to play football as it gives people "at least a little bit of hope and understanding" and contributes to "breaking down barriers of all kind."
"Since I am FIFA president and I am traveling all over the world, I have visited over 150 or 170 countries, I do not know exactly how many, and you see people suffering, and you see that the communities, the international communities do not do maybe what should be done, and you see that a ball like that given to boys and girls, to children gives them a smile, gives them a little bit of joy. You see what the impact football can have, so whilst I am sad, and I said it as well in other congresses, and whilst again while we can speak about the power of football, it has certainly a power to bring people together, it has to bring people together," Infantino concluded.
On February 28, the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee suspended all Russian teams from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice. The Russian Football Union has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the decision. Infantino said that the CAS has yet to decide on the appeal, therefore FIFA is waiting for the results.