Nobel Peace Center breaks ties with FIFA

Zurich, June 16 (IANS) Nobel Peace Center on Tuesday announced the termination of its association with corruption-plagued FIFA, dealing a fresh blow to the image of world football’s governing body.

The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has already scrapped its 20 million euros ($22 million) arrangement with FIFA on fighting match-fixing, following the outbreak of a global corruption scandal that has led to the arrest of nine FIFA officials and indictment of 14 people by the US.

FIFA introduced the Handshake for Peace — a pre-match greeting between team captains and match officials — in 2012 in cooperation with the Oslo-based Nobel center.

“The board asks the administration to terminate the cooperation with FIFA as soon as circumstances allow,” a statement from the center said on Tuesday.

“The board also asks the administration to start a dialogue with the Norwegian Football Association for the Handshake for Peace initiative to continue in the future.”

FIFA expressed its disappointment at the center’s decision but said it will keep the gesture in its match protocol.

“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. FIFA is reluctant to accept this unilateral approach on what is a joint initiative between the football community and the Nobel Peace Center (NPC),” FIFA said in a release on Tuesday.

“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 Handshake for Peace will remain as an integral part of the match protocol at the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada as scheduled and at future competitions,” it added.

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