FIFA says Nobel Center decision 'isn't fair play'

Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:09am EDT
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA reacted with bitterness on Tuesday over the Nobel Peace Center's plan to end cooperation over the Handshake for Peace initiative, saying the decision was "not fair play" and obstructed anti-discrimination.

In an unusually strongly-worded statement, soccer's governing body added that it was disappointed to hear about the news through the media.

"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 soccer community and the Nobel Peace Center (NPC).

"This action does not embody the spirit of fair play especially as it obstructs the promotion of the key values of peace-building and anti-discrimination."

The NPC announced on Monday that it was ending its link with soccer's scandal-plagued governing body and did not give a specific reason.

FIFA said NPC 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 soccer with FIFA".

The Oslo-based NPC was behind the Handshake for Peace Initiative, something that had been enthusiastically promoted by Blatter for three years.   Continued...

The logo of soccer's international governing body FIFA is seen on its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, May 27, 2015.  REUTERS/Ruben Sprich