Fifa President Gianni Infantino spoke of “hypocrisy” from the West regarding the 2022 World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar on Sunday. The global football federation chief delivered a stunning monologue on the eve of the event in Doha to defend the Arab nation in the face of a significant early trial.
“Today I have strong feelings,” said Infantino. “Today I feel like a Qatari, an Arab, an African, a gay man, a disabled person, a migrant worker. We have learned many lessons from Europeans and the western world. i am european For what we’ve been doing around the world for 3,000 years, we should apologize for the next 3,000 years before we teach moral lessons. If Europe really cares about the fate of these people, they can, like Qatar, create legal avenues for a number of these workers to come to Europe to work. Give them some future, some hope.”
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This Winter World Cup took place in Qatar against a backdrop of numerous issues, most notably the deaths of migrant workers and the status and treatment of people identified as LGBTQ. Infantino blamed European nations for historic acts instead of raising the issue of migrant labour.
“I have trouble understanding the criticism,” said Swiss-born Infantino. “We need to invest to help these people, in education and to give them a better future and more hope. We should all educate ourselves. Many things are not perfect, but reforms and changes take time. This one-sided moral teaching is just hypocrisy.” . I wonder why no one acknowledges the progress that has been made here since 2016. It’s not easy to take the criticism of a decision made 12 years ago. Qatar is ready, it will be the best World Cup ever.”
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The number of migrant worker deaths is disputed, with the numbers believed to be much higher than the 37 claimed by the Qatar government. Infantino said the 2022 World Cup Legacy Fund will go to education and help 25 million women and children in India before likening criticism of Qatar to bullying he endured as a child.
“I don’t have to defend Qatar,” he said. “They can defend themselves. I defend football. Qatar have made progress and I feel a lot of other things too. Of course I’m not Qatari, Arab, African, gay, disabled or a migrant worker. But I feel like them because I know what it means to be discriminated against and bullied as a foreigner in a foreign country. As a child I was bullied because I had red hair and freckles – I was bullied for that.”
FIFA also changed policy, announcing that just two days before the start of the tournament, alcohol would not be served at any of the eight World Cup venues. Despite strict laws controlling the sale of alcohol in Qatar, there should be “selected stadium areas” for its consumption. Alcohol can still be purchased in the corporate areas of tournament stadiums.
“If that’s our biggest problem for the World Cup, then I’ll resign immediately and go to the beach to relax,” Infantino said. “First, let me assure you that any decision that will be made at this World Cup is a joint decision between Qatar and FIFA. There will be many fan zones where you can buy alcohol in Qatar and fans can drink alcohol at the same time. I think if you can’t drink beer for three hours a day, you’ll survive. Mainly because the rules are the same in France, Spain, Portugal and Scotland. Has it become a big deal here because it’s a Muslim country? I do not know why. We tried and that’s why I give you the late change of policy. We tried to see if it’s possible.
Hosts Qatar meet Ecuador in the World Cup opener at Al Bayt Stadium this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. ET.