FIFA president Infantino criticized Europe’s hypocrisy in speech | Popgen Tech
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has spoken out about what he described as “hypocrisy” and “racism” from countries moralizing about the Qatar World Cup, claiming Europe must “apologize for the next 3,000 years” for past mistakes.
In a stunning one-hour 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 over the treatment of migrant workers. defended, saying LGBTQ+ people were welcome and insisting he was still in charge of the tournament despite a last-minute stadium ban on alcohol.
“What is sad is that especially in recent weeks in some places we have seen a real lesson of morals, of double standards. [standards],” Infantino said.
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“We are told to make many lessons from some Europeans, from the Western world. I am European. I think for what we Europeans have been doing around the world for 3,000 years, we should apologize for the next 3,000 years before we start to give moral lessons to people.
“How many of these European companies that make millions and millions from Qatar or other countries in the region — billions every year — how many of them have addressed the rights of migrant workers? I have the answer: none of them, because if they changing the legislation means less profits.
“But we did. And FIFA generated much, much, much less than any of these companies, from Qatar.
“We also see here a lot of government representatives coming from Qatar. I don’t have to defend Qatar in any way whatsoever, they can defend themselves. I’m defending football here, 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. Soccer does, the World Cup does and to be fair to them , Qatar does as it does.”
Infantino questioned European immigration policy and claimed the West could learn from Qatar, which has faced repeated criticism from human rights campaigners over its treatment of migrant workers.
He said: “Where are we going with our way of working, guys? Where is the world going? If you take two steps back and you look at this issue of migration and their situation of hundreds of thousands of women and men who would like to have their services to offer, who would like to help and give a future to their families back home, Qatar actually offers them this opportunity.
“Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, they’re helping their families to survive. And they’re doing it in a legal way. We in Europe are closing our borders and we’re not allowing virtually any workers from these countries to work legally in our country. We know everyone there are many illegal workers in our European countries, living conditions that are not really the best either.
“Those who reach Europe, those who want to go to Europe, they have to go through a very difficult journey. Only a few survive. So if you would really care about the fate of these people, these young people, then Europe can also do as Qatar did: create some legal channels where at least some of these workers can come to Europe, lower incomes, but give them some work, give them a future, give them some hope.
“That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t show that it doesn’t work here in Qatar too. Of course there are things that don’t work and need to be addressed. But giving this moral lesson, one-sided, that’s just hypocrisy.”
Infantino began his extraordinary speech by declaring: “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 feel a migrant worker, ” before claiming he understands what it means to be discriminated against because “as a foreigner in a foreign country, as a child at school I was bullied because I had red hair and freckles.”
Turning his attention to LGBTQ+ rights, Infantino reiterated the Qatar Supreme Committee’s insistence that all are welcome in the country despite the country’s strict laws against homosexuality, which in some cases are punishable by death.
“They confirmed that I can confirm that everyone is welcome,” Infantino said. “If the odd person here or there says the opposite, it’s not the opinion of the country and it’s certainly not the opinion of FIFA. It’s a clear FIFA requirement, that everyone should be welcome.
“Everyone who comes to Qatar is welcome, whatever religion, race, sexual orientation, belief he or she has, everyone is welcome. That was our requirement and the Qatari state adheres to that requirement.
“You’ll say to me, ‘Yes, but there’s legislation that forbids you, or whatever, to go to jail.’ Yes, this legislation exists. They exist in many countries in the world. This legislation existed in Switzerland when they organized the World Cup in 1954. As for the workers, these are processes.”
At the insistence of Qatar’s supreme committee, alcohol was banned in 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 matches.
Infantino insisted FIFA was still “200 percent 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 relax until December 18.
James Olley recaps a remarkable speech by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, in which he called out the “hypocrisy” of nations criticizing Qatar.
“First let me assure you that every decision made at this World Cup is a joint decision between Qatar and FIFA. Every decision. It is discussed, debated and made jointly. There will be more than 200 places where you can have alcohol in Qatar buy.
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“More than 10 fan zones where more than 100,000 can drink alcohol at the same time. I think personally, if you can’t drink a beer for three hours a day, you will survive, especially because the same rules actually apply in France or Spain or in Portugal money, or in Scotland No beer is allowed in the stadiums.
“Here it becomes a big thing because it’s a Muslim country. I don’t know why. We tried. That’s the one I’m giving you of course, a late change of policy. Because we have until the in the end try to see if it was But it’s one thing to have plans and designs and another thing is when you start putting them in place.
“You look at the flows of the people, look at their security going in and out, going to attend different matches. It’s something at this World Cup that is new in that respect.”
Responding to Infantino’s comments, Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s head of economic and social justice, said: “Putting aside legitimate human rights criticism, Gianni Infantino rejects the enormous price migrant workers pay to make his flagship tournament possible – as well as FIFA’s responsibility for it. Demands for equality, dignity and compensation cannot be treated as a kind of culture war — these are universal human rights that FIFA has committed itself to respect in its own statutes.
“If there is a small glimmer of hope, it is that Infantino has announced that FIFA will set up a legacy fund after the World Cup. However, this cannot be mere window dressing. If FIFA wants to salvage anything from this tournament, he must announce that it will invest a significant portion of the $6 billion that the organization will make from this tournament and make sure that this fund is used to directly compensate workers and their families.”