ZURICH: FIFA president Gianni Infantino and UEFA’s Aleksander Ceferin both issued personal statements on behalf of the the world and European football federations in response to the explosion of violence in the Middle East.

Infantino said: “I would like to express, on behalf of FIFA and the entire international football community, our deepest condolences to the Israel Football Association and the Palestine Football Association, in light of the horrendous violence that has been occurring over the past days.

“It is as heart-breaking as it is shocking to see a region, whose people have known such profound suffering over far too long, suffer even more.

“The footballing world stands firmly in solidarity with the people of Israel and Palestine, and with all the innocent victims that have paid an unspeakable price.

“FIFA joins in calling for the immediate end of hostilities and for the immediate relief of the suffering of the people of both Israel and Palestine.

“Of course, we know that football cannot solve the problems of the world, but it can play even a small part in bringing a light of hope where there appears to be only darkness ahead.

“Football shows that it is possible to bring people together in an environment of mutual respect, acting as a vehicle for peace and, eventually, reconciliation, even when this may have seemed impossible to all but a few.

“I would like to stress that FIFA will do whatever we possibly can to assist you in your relief efforts and to restoring peace and hope to your people now and into the future.”

UEFA president Ceferin said: “On behalf of UEFA and the European football community, I am writing to express our profound sorrow upon learning about the tragic acts of violence that occurred last week in Israel, resulting in the loss of innocent lives.

“My heart goes out to all the victims and their families during these difficult times. It is an unimaginable tragedy, and the pain and sorrow are profound and resonate across the entire football community.

“We sincerely hope no one will ever again experience such grief . . . I pray for these deep wounds to heal and for a world where such senseless acts of violence have no place.”