FIFA president Gianni Infantino opened the congress of the world football governing body in Doha, yesterday without making a direct reference to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The 52-year-old asked delegates to think of those who have lost their lives in the pandemic and in military conflicts across the whole world before observing a minute’s silence.
Ahead of Friday’s group stage draw for the Nov. 21 to Dec. 18 World Cup in Qatar, Infantino said the tournament would be the “be the best World Cup ever.”
He presented Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani with a shirt that has “22” on the back.
Al Thani said the World Cup would be something special and incomparable.
“We’re representing not only our country but the whole Arabian world,” he added.
Qatar has continually been criticised by human rights organisations for its treatment of migrant workers since being awarded the competition back in 2010.
FIFA invited every member federation to the congress, including Russia whose team were kicked out the World Cup playoffs this month following the invasion of Ukraine.
Alexey Sorokin, who organised the 2018 World Cup in Russia, was in attendance but it was not immediately clear if a Ukrainian delegation was present.
During a roll call of nations Ukraine was represented but this could also have been done online.