SREBRENICA: FIFA has rejected a demand to mark the 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre before the World Cup final, a non-governmental group said Saturday.
Bosnia`s branch of the Germany-based Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) had called on FIFA to hold a minute`s silence prior to the final between the Netherlands and Spain at Johannesburg on Sunday as the game coincides with the anniversary of the massacre, the NGO said in a statement.
On July 11, 1995, Bosnian Serb forces entered the UN-protected Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by the Bosnian Serb army in the following days.
"The genoocide at Srebrenica is remembered with sadness and sorrow all over the world," FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke wrote in a letter to the GfbV, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.
"Sadly, that same day coincides with the imprisonment and life sentencing of Nelson Mandela and his comrades almost 50 years ago and as you can imagine, that symbolic date is of great significance for the African continent and in particular for the host country," the letter said.
"We therefore hope to count on your understanding that none of these dramas will be highlighted in South Africa during the final match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup," Valcke wrote.
The decision and explanation was "a slap in the face to Srebrenica survivors," Fadila Memicevic of the Bosnian GfbV said in the statement.
Bosnian Muslims were on Sunday to mark the massacre at a ceremony that would include the burial of 775 recently identified victims at the special memorial centre and graveyard in Potocari near Srebrenica, joining the 3,749 already there.
BDST: 2106hrs, July 10, 2010