Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, has launched an excellent defence of Qatar against criticism of the most controversial World Cup ever.
In an hour-long outburst in Doha, the 52-year-old accused western opponents of Qatar’s human rights record of being hypocritical and intentionally racist.
Jumping to Qatar’s defence, Infantino stated (via Guardian) that instead of concentrating on the problems with migrant workers in Qatar, European nations should spend “three thousand years apologising” for actions committed in the history of their own countries.
The president also suggested that the West could learn from Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, claiming scrutiny of alleged fake England fans was pure racism.
What has been said
“We have told many lessons from some Europeans, from the western world,” he said.
“I am European. For what we Europeans have been doing the last 3,000 years, we should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before giving moral lessons to people.”
“We should all educate ourselves,” he continued. “Reform and change take time; in our European nations, where we believe we have attained the pinnacle, it took hundreds of years. If that’s the case, I wonder.”
“Dialogue is the sole means of achieving achievements. Not by insultingly hammering. What do you think your child will do if you tell him you’re stupid and useless and lock him up in his room after he misbehaves at school?”
“He will understand if you interact with him, and he will improve. I don’t want to teach you any life lessons, but what is happening here is incredibly unjust.”
“While Europe is known for its multiculturalism and tolerance, bad things are still happening there. Before criticising others, we should examine ourselves.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Europe's criticism of the Qatar World Cup. pic.twitter.com/7LkOXAKcAv
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 19, 2022
Despite Qatar’s laws that criminalise same-sex partnerships, Infantino, who fielded several questions following the lengthy address, ensures that LGBTQ+ people would be secure and welcome.
“Welcome, one and all.” He said that if you are the type of person who believes the opposite, FIFA and the nation do not share your viewpoint.
“Everyone who comes is welcome, regardless of colour, sex preference, or other beliefs. This was our demand, and the government of Qatar upholds it.”
In response to a question about whether Qatar could change its mind about these commitments, Infantino said there was always time to make changes. We still abide by the assurance we previously provided.
“When it comes to the security of people when you speak about LGBT people, everyone’s security is granted from the highest level of the country,” he said.
🗣 “Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel a migrant worker.”
President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino with a strange speech on the eve of the 2022 World Cup pic.twitter.com/f1xIfWAjom
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 19, 2022
Amnesty International responds to controversial Gianni Infantino comments
Steve Cockburn, the head of economic and social justice at Amnesty International, responded to Infantino’s remarks within hours.
“Gianni Infantino is rejecting the massive price paid by migrant labourers to make his showpiece tournament feasible. He also denies FIFA’s responsibility, ignoring severe human rights objections,” Cockburn penned.
“We cannot view demands for equality, decency and compensation as part of a cultural conflict because FIFA has vowed to uphold them in its own rules.”
“If there is any sliver of hope, it comes from Infantino’s declaration that FIFA would create a legacy fund following the World Cup. But this can’t just be window dressing.”
“If FIFA wants to salvage anything from this tournament, it must declare that it will invest a sizable portion of the $6 billion. That the organisation will gain from this tournament and ensure that this fund is to recompense workers and their families directly.”