FIFA president Infantino has condemned Europe’s hypocrisy in a stunning speech
FIFA president Gianni Infantino described the World Cup in Qatar as “hypocrisy” and “racism” by moralistic nations and claimed Europe “should apologize for the next 3,000 years” for past mistakes.
In a stunning hour-long monologue that opened a Saturday news conference in Doha, Infantino, who will stand unopposed for re-election as FIFA president next March, took aim at critics of Qatar and FIFA by defending its treatment of migrant workers, saying LGBTQ+ people were welcome and insisting that He was in control of the tournament despite a last-minute stadium ban on alcohol.
“The sad thing is that especially in the last weeks, we have helped in some places a real lesson in moral, double standards. [standards]” said Infantino.
“We have been asked to learn a lot from some Europeans, from the Western world. I am European. I think we should apologize for the next 3,000 years before we start doing what we Europeans have been doing around the world for 3,000 years. Teach people morals. .
“How many of these European companies that make millions in Qatar or other countries in the region — billions every year — have talked about the rights of migrant workers? My answer is: none of them because if they change the law it means less profit. .
“But we did. And FIFA made much, much, much less than any of these organizations from Qatar.
“We see a lot of government representatives coming here from Qatar. I don’t have to defend Qatar in any way, they can defend themselves. I’m here defending football, and injustice.
“If there was no gas, nobody would care. But now they all come and they all want something. Who really cares about the workers? FIFA does. Football does, the World Cup does and to be fair to them Qatar does. We will.”
Infantino questioned European migration policy and claimed the West could learn from Qatar, which has repeatedly drawn criticism from human rights campaigners over its treatment of migrant workers.
He said: “Where are we going with the way we do things, guys? Where is the world going? If you take two steps back and you look at this immigration issue and look at the plight of millions of women and men who want to serve those who want to help. And want to give their families a future back home, Qatar is actually giving them this opportunity.
“Thousands of migrant workers, they help their families live. And they do it in a legal way. We in Europe, we close our borders and we don’t allow any workers from these countries to work legally in our country. We all know our Europeans. There are many illegal workers in the countries, the living conditions are not really the best.
“Those who reach Europe, those who want to go to Europe, have to go through a very difficult journey. Only a few survive. So if you really care about the fate of these people, these young people, so can Europe. Do like Qatar: create some legal channels. Do where at least this number of workers can come to Europe, reduce revenues, but give them some work, give them some future, give them some hope.
“That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t point out things that don’t work here in Qatar as well. Of course, there are things that don’t work and they need to be addressed. But to teach this moral, one-sidedly, is just hypocrisy.”
Infantino began his remarkable speech “Today I have very strong feelings, today I feel Qatari, today I feel Arab, today I feel African, today I feel gay, today I feel disabled, today I am a migrant worker. feeling” before claiming. Understand what it means to be discriminated against because “as a foreigner in a foreign land, as a child at school I was bullied because my hair was red and frizzy.”
Drawing attention to LGBTQ+ rights, Infantino reiterated Qatar’s Supreme Committee’s insistence that everyone is welcome in the country despite the country’s strict laws against homosexuality, punishable by death in some cases.
“They made sure I could make sure everyone was welcome,” Infantino said. “If the odd person here or there says the opposite, it’s not the country’s opinion and it’s certainly not FIFA’s opinion. It’s a clear FIFA requirement, everyone should be welcome.
“Welcome all who come to Qatar, regardless of religion, race, sexual orientation, belief. This was our requirement and the State of Qatar is steadfast in that requirement.
“You say to me: ‘Yes, but there are laws that prohibit, or whatever, you have to go to jail’. Yes, these laws exist. They exist in many countries around the world. These laws existed in Switzerland when they hosted the World Cup in 1954. was done. Like workers it’s process.”
At the insistence of Qatar’s Supreme Committee, alcohol was banned from stadiums just two days before Sunday’s opening match between Qatar and Ecuador, despite years of promises that fans would be able to buy beer at the games.
Infantino insisted FIFA was still “200% in control” of the tournament and appeared to suggest: “If this is the biggest problem we have for the World Cup, I will sign immediately and go to the beach and rest until December 18.
“Let me first assure you that every decision taken at this World Cup is a joint decision between Qatar and FIFA. Every decision. It is discussed, debated and taken jointly. There will be more than 200 places in Qatar where you can buy alcohol.
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“More than 10 fanzones where more than 100,000 people can drink alcohol at once. I think personally, if you can’t drink beer for three hours a day, you’ll survive, especially because actually the same rules apply in France or Spain or Portugal or Scotland. Beer in stadiums. not allowed
“It’s become a big issue here because it’s a Muslim country. I don’t know why. We’ve tried. It’s a late change in policy, I give you. Because we’ve tried until the end to see if. But one thing is planning and design. Having and another thing is when you start deploying it.
“You look at the flow of people, the security they have in and out, going to different matches. This World Cup is something new in that regard.”
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