Infantino wants Qatar World Cup to act as 'positive trigger' for Russia-Ukraine ceasefire

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino hopes the World Cup can provide an opportunity for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Russia were excluded from all FIFA and UEFA competitions following the country's invasion of Ukraine in February, preventing their side from competing in March's qualification play-offs for a place in Qatar.

While Russia hosted the last edition of the World Cup in 2018, the tournament could head to Ukraine in 2030 after the war-ravaged nation was invited to join a bid from Spain and Portugal.

Addressing world leaders at a Group of 20 (G20) summit in Indonesia, Infantino called for a temporary ceasefire to be implemented during the tournament, which begins on Sunday.

"Football is a force for good. We are not naive to believe that football can solve the world's problems," Infantino said.

"We know that our main focus as a sports organisation is and should be sports, but because football unites the world, this particular FIFA World Cup, with five billion people watching it, can be a trigger for a positive gesture, for a sign or a message of hope.

"Russia hosted the last World Cup in 2018, and Ukraine is bidding to host the World Cup in 2030. Maybe the current World Cup, starting in five days, can really be that positive trigger.

"My plea to all of you is to think on a temporary ceasefire for one month for the duration of the World Cup, or at least the implementation of some humanitarian corridors, or anything that could lead to the resumption of dialogue as a first step to peace.

"You are the world leaders, you have the ability to influence the course of history. Football and the World Cup are offering you and the world a unique platform of unity and peace all over the world."

Ukraine have only appeared at the World Cup on one occasion as an independent nation, reaching the quarter-finals of the 2006 edition in Germany.

Oleksandr Petrakov's side fell at the final hurdle in qualification for this year's tournament, overcoming Scotland before losing 1-0 in their play-off final against Wales in June.