FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Sunday that the World Cup boycott is an act of aggression that has “no place in our sport.”
“The World Cup has no place in American sport, but we are here in the United States, and we will not let the FIFA organization and its sponsors and members of its executive committee, who are all of them members of the American political and economic elite, destroy our sport,” Infantinos statement read.
“This boycott has no credibility and no value in our game.”
The statement was released after a FIFA executive committee meeting in Brazil on Sunday, which was attended by Infantines predecessor Gianni Del Piero, who has been accused of trying to undermine the 2022 World Cup and the 2018 World Cup.
A spokesman for Del Pieros office did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Del Piero said that the United State will not participate in the World Cups because of the boycott.
“I believe in America’s freedom, but that is not the right place to put our country’s interests at stake,” Del Pieroes statement read, according to CNN.
“I am not afraid to stand with the American people, and I am not here to harm them.
I will do my utmost to stand up for the right to boycott this World Cup.”
The U.N. human rights council has condemned the move.
“This unilateral boycott of the FIFA World Cup, which is intended to hurt the rights of FIFA members and to make the World Series and World Cup into a political football, is a dangerous and unprecedented act that is unacceptable and that will have serious negative effects on the integrity of the World Football League,” U.K. human and rights council representative Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement.
“The human rights of members of FIFA is guaranteed and the World Soccer League is entitled to be protected from any interference or attempts to impose its control over football in other countries,” he added.
A number of World Cup sponsors, including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, have also joined the boycott movement.