EMBATTLED football world governing body Fifa has criticised the Nobel Peace Centre for ending a co-operation agreement over their Handshake for Peace joint initiative.
Fifa said it was not given advance notice of the Norway-based organisation’s decision, adding that the move impeded efforts towards fair play, peace and fighting discrimination.
The Nobel Peace Centre, which has received €800,000 (£575,000) a year from Sepp Blatter’s association since the Handshake for Peace’s inception in 2013, cut ties on Monday amid the corruption storm engulfing Fifa.
“We are disappointed to have learned from the media about the Nobel Peace Centre’s intent to terminate the cooperation with Fifa on the Handshake for Peace initiative,” Fifa said 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 Centre. 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, between team captains and referees, was introduced to pre-match and post-match activity at the Club World Cup in 2013, with Fifa president Blatter calling it “a strong message of solidarity and peace to the world”. It was conceived by the Norwegian Football Association in conjunction with the Nobel Peace Centre and then endorsed by Fifa.
Blatter, 79, announced his intention to step down earlier this month, just days after being elected for a fifth four-year term, amid the biggest crisis in Fifa history. It came after seven current Fifa officials were indicted by the United States Department of Justice on corruption charges.
The governing body has faced further accusations on a daily basis since, with former executive committee member Chuck Blazer having confessed to taking a bribe and several World Cup host votes now under investigation.