FIFA Loses Nobel Peace Center Cooperation Amid Bribe Scandal

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FIFA’s initiative with the Nobel Peace Center will end in another blow to soccer’s governing body, which has been tainted by a U.S. investigation into corruption.

FIFA introduced the Handshake for Peace -- pre-match greetings between team captains and game officials -- in 2012 in cooperation with the Oslo-based Nobel Peace Center.

The soccer body said it was “disappointed” to learn of the move through the media and will continue the gesture at competitions including the current women’s World Cup in Canada and under-20 tournament in New Zealand.

“FIFA is reluctant to accept this unilateral approach on what is a joint initiative between the football community and the Nobel Peace Center,” it said in an e-mailed statement. “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.”

Seven FIFA officials are among 14 soccer executives who have been indicted on bribery, racketeering and money laundering charges by U.S. authorities. The scandal cost Sepp Blatter, 79, the FIFA presidency, who said four days after being elected to a fifth term that he would step down.

FIFA said Blatter spoke to the head of the NPC, Bente Erichsen, Tuesday about the initiative.

“The board asks the administration to terminate the cooperation with FIFA as soon as circumstances allow,” according to a statement from the Nobel Peace Center. “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.”

Last week, Interpol suspended a 20 million-euro ($22 million) arrangement with FIFA on fighting match-fixing and the Vatican suspended an agreement to receive a donation from the Copa America soccer tournament.

For more, read this QuickTake: The World Cup

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