FIFA president Gianni Infantino delivered an extraordinary speech on the eve of the World Cup, in which he accused the west of moral hypocrisy.
In what was supposed to be a 45-minute Q&A with the media in Doha before Sunday’s opening game, Infantino delivered a rambling monologue that lasted nearly an hour in which he steadfastly defended Qatar’s migrant worker’s policy and labelled those saying there were ‘paid fake fans’ in Qatar as racist.
The build-up to the World Cup has been overshadowed by the treatment of LGBTQ+ people and the deaths of migrant workers, but Infantino said critics were in no position “to give moral lessons to people”.
Infantino said: “Today I have strong feelings. Today I feel Qatari, I feel Arab, I feel African, I feel gay, I feel disabled, I feel a migrant worker.
“Of course, I am not Qatari, I am not an Arab, I am not African, I am not gay, I am not disabled. But I feel like it because I know what it means to be discriminated against, to be bullied, as a foreigner in a foreign country. As a child, I was bullied – because I had red hair and freckles, plus I was Italian so imagine. I went into my room and I cried
“I feel for the FIFA and Supreme Committee staff. They want to deliver here. I am proud to have this FIFA sign on my jacket. It will be the best World Cup ever. Qatar is ready.
“Hundreds of thousands of women and men from developing countries who’d like to offer their services abroad in order to help and give a future to their families back home. Qatar is actually offering them this opportunity. They come here and earn 10 times more than what they earn in their home country.
“For what we Europeans have been doing around the world in the last 3,000 years we should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons to people.
“How many of these European or Western business companies who earn millions from Qatar, billions, how many of them have addressed migrant workers’ rights with the authorities?
“None of them, because if you change the legislation it means less profit. But we did, and FIFA generates much less than any of these companies from Qatar.”
Infantino also responded to reports of fans being paid to support different nations at the World Cup.
“The world is divided enough, we are organising a World Cup, not a war,” he said. “We organise a World Cup where people who have many problems want to come and enjoy. Look at the city, it’s beautiful. People are happy to celebrate.
“They were happy when the teams come and they go to see them, and what do I read? These people don’t look English, they shouldn’t cheer for England because they look like Indians. What is that?
“Can somebody who looks like an Indian not cheer for England, Spain or Germany? You know what this is. This is racism, this is pure racism. We have to stop that because everyone in the world has the right to cheer for who they want.”
source – Skysports