FIFA president Gianni Infantino made a passionate defense of Qatar on Saturday, citing the hypocrisy of Western critics of the Gulf state’s human rights record. He criticized their inconsistency, citing that the country is still safe for visitors and tourists despite media reports.
The buildup to the World Cup has been dominated by concerns over Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, women, and the LGBTQ community. Organizers have expressed concern about the global public opinion.
When Qatar officials talk about their country, they will often use words like “racism” and “double standards.” One way that they see these appear is when other countries accuse Qatar of not having enough safeguards in place to protect workers. Still, the country has enacted reforms on working conditions and safety that have been heralded as groundbreaking in the region.
Shepherded by Mohammed bin Hammam, the president of the Asian Football Confederation and a candidate for FIFA’s presidency in 2011, Qatar was announced as host of the 2022 tournament in 2010.
Speaking at his opening press conference of the tournament in Doha, Infantino had harsh words for critics of Qatar.
“What this person is saying is just hypocritical,” said the Swiss.
“I don’t want to preach to you here and tell you how to live your life, but what is going on over there is profoundly, profoundly unjust,” he said. “We Europeans have been doing this for the last 3000 years and we should apologise for the next 3000 years before giving lectures about moral issues.” Infantino also expressed his support for marginalized communities.
“Today I might feel Qatari, today I might feel Arab, today I might feel African, today I might feel gay, today I might feel disabled, today I might feel a migrant worker” – he said.
One of the issues that have dominated the buildup to the World Cup is the sale of alcohol in Muslim countries. Alcohol is strictly forbidden in Islam and as a result, shops stocking up on beer before the tournament have been vandalized.
Organisers had briefly banned beer sales, but later lifted it, saying that football clubs will be responsible for policing restrictions.
Fifa World Cup: Partners of these players will dazzle in the stadium, hearts will be defeated after seeing the beauty; Photos