FIFA president Gianni Infantino made a surprise speech on the eve of the World Cup, in which he criticized the West for corruption.
In what was supposed to be a 45-minute Q&A with reporters in Doha ahead of Sunday’s opening match, Infantino delivered a nearly hour-long speech in which he staunchly defended the policy of migrant workers in Qatar and labeled those who say there are ‘fake fans who are paid. ‘ in Qatar as discrimination.
The preparations for the World Cup have been overshadowed by the treatment of LGBTQ+ people and the death of migrant workers, but Infantino said that the opposition does not have the opportunity to “give a good education to the people”.
Infantino said: “Today I feel strong. Today I feel Qatari, I feel Arabic, I feel African, I feel gay, I feel disabled, I feel I am a migrant worker.
“Of course I’m not Qatari, I’m not Arab, I’m not African, I’m not gay, I’m not disabled. But I feel that way, because I know what it means to be discriminated against, to be persecuted, as a Foreigner in a foreign country. As a child I was persecuted – because I had red hair and spots, plus I was Italy, think about it. I went into my room and cried
“I feel sorry for the staff of FIFA and the Supreme Committee. They want to give here. I am proud to have the FIFA logo on my jacket. It will be the best World Cup. Qatar is ready.
“For what we Europeans have been doing all over the world in the last 3,000 years, we have to apologize for the next 3,000 years before we start giving moral education to people.
“How many European or Western companies earn millions from Qatar, billions, and how many have spoken to the authorities about the rights of migrant workers?
“None of them, because if you change the rules it means less profit. But we did, and FIFA makes much less than all these companies from Qatar.”
‘This World Cup proves how bad the game is’
Sky Sports News Chief Correspondent Melissa Reddy in Qatar:
“What kind of stupid, offensive, misleading thing didn’t he say? This is amazing and unlike anything I’ve heard before.
“You don’t know what it’s like to be gay, Infantino, you don’t know what it’s like to be disabled, you don’t know what it’s like to be African and you can’t agree with discrimination because of red hair and Don’t complain to any group you’ve pointed to. You can’t deny what they’ve been through by saying you ‘feel’ what they’re feeling.
“This is a very strange story from the president of FIFA and it is probably very strange that he is being re-elected without an opponent after saying things like this. He also said that Qatar takes soldiers from the poorest countries in the world. Millions who have nothing and bring them to do what human rights groups call modern slavery, saying it is better because they are paid more than what they do at home.
“This is misleading, disrespectful, offensive, destroying the goal of getting good rights, good conditions for these workers to try to improve human rights here.
“They talk about fraud, I don’t think Infantino is the person to talk about fraud. I don’t think fraud is the right way for the president of FIFA to try to force change.
“If we all stick to what happened in the past or what is happening elsewhere and we have to be silent because of it, we won’t bring any change. We all can’t say anything because there is no country that is untouched and untainted, but we have come to the World Cup and on the eve of the tournament, this is what we are getting.
“They say it will be the best World Cup in history, I think this will be a World Cup that really helps how dirty the game is.”