FIFA has reacted to the Nobel Peace Center's plan to end cooperation on the "Handshake for Peace" initiative, saying the decision is "not fair play." It's the latest canceled partnership for football's governing body.
In a strongly-worded statement on Tuesday, football's world governing body said that it was disappointed to hear about the termination of the "Handshakes for Peace" project. The program, which involved the symbolic fair play gesture of both sides shaking hands before the game, had been promoted by FIFA since 2014.
But, the Nobel Peace Center announced late on Monday that it was ending its link with the sport's scandal-plagued governing body, not giving a specific reason.
"We are disappointed to have learned from the media about the Nobel Peace Center's intent to terminate the cooperation with FIFA on the Handshake for Peace initiative," said FIFA in a statement.
"FIFA is reluctant to accept this unilateral approach on what is a joint initiative between the football community and the Nobel Peace Center."
The cancellation by the Oslo-based organization came three days after Interpol suspended a 20 million euros ($22 million) arrangement with FIFA on fighting match-fixing. Last week the Vatican also said that it would not accept donations from South American football federation CONMEBOL, after allegations of corruption at FIFA.
FIFA said on Tuesday that Nobel Peace Center executive director Bente Erichsen phoned president Sepp Blatter on Tuesday morning and that she "continued to believe in this initiative and hoped it would live on in football with FIFA".
The Oslo-based organization was initially behind the "Handshake for Peace" initiative, something that had been enthusiastically promoted by FIFA president Sepp Blatter for years. The center will now begin discussions with the Norwegian Football Association on how to continue the program.
al/rd (AFP, Reuters)