A request by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to share a message of world peace prior to kickoff at the World Cup final on Sunday has been rebuffed by FIFA, a source told CNN.
The source said Zelensky’s office is offering to appear in a video link to fans in the stadium in Qatar, ahead of the game and was surprised by the negative response. It’s unclear if Zelensky’s message would be live, or taped.
“We thought FIFA wanted to use its platform for the greater good,” the source said.
However, talks between Ukraine and the sport’s governing body are still underway, the source added. CNN has reached out to FIFA for comment, but it did not immediately respond.
The request, while unorthodox, is unsurprising. Kyiv has repeatedly tried to use major world events, regardless of their theme, to keep the global spotlight on the war in Ukraine.
Zelensky has appeared via video at everything from the Group of 20 Nations summit to the Grammys and the Cannes Film Festival. He’s also done interviews and conversations with a diverse array of journalists and famous entertainers, including Sean Penn and David Letterman, employing the charm and media savvy he developed in the entertainment industry – he was an actor before becoming a politician – to rally support for Ukraine.
This is a developing story. More details to come.
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