Gianni Infantino spoke at a press conference on the eve of the World Cup in Qatar. The FIFA chief lent his support to the hosts of this year’s championship and uttered a number of curmudgeonly words that will be remembered for a very long time. Among other things, there was no shortage of biting remarks toward Europe, which, according to the 52-year-old, instead of criticizing Qatar, should apologize for its own history.
This Sunday, the soccer World Cup will begin in Qatar. The tournament is without a shadow of a doubt FIFA’s most questionable project in the organization’s entire history. There is loud talk of human rights violations, thousands of deaths during the construction of the stadiums, as well as massive corruption to secure Qatar’s role as host of the event. The head of the soccer headquarters has had to respond to allegations about these issues on several occasions. Now he has spoken out again and… has outdone himself.
– Today I feel Qatari, today I feel Arab, today I feel African, today I feel gay, today I feel disabled, today I feel an expatriate who is a worker,” he announced at the beginning of his speech.
– Of course, I’m not Qatari, I’m not Arab, I’m not African, I’m not gay, I’m not disabled, and I’m not a laborer. However, I feel like them because I know what it means to be discriminated against. I was bullied at school as a child because I had red hair and freckles, plus I was a foreigner, coming from Italy,” added the Swiss with Italian roots.
– What do you try to do then? You strive to make friends and acquaintances. You don’t start accusing, fighting and insulting everyone. This is exactly how it should be approached. Every country has its own rules. You can criticize what Arabs and Muslims are bad, because it is not allowed here to say publicly that you are gay. Of course it should be allowed,” he stressed.
– Europeans have taught us many lessons. I am a European, but I think for what we Europeans have done in the world for the last three thousand years, we should apologize for the next three thousand years before we decide to teach someone a lesson in morality,” the 52-year-old pointed out.
– Who really cares about workers? FIFA and soccer are doing it, but to be fair, Qatar is also doing it. Many international institutions have recognized that labor rights standards in Qatar are similar to labor rights standards in Europe, he recalled.
– I was at a meeting a few days ago where we explained what we are doing at this World Cup for people with disabilities. There are 400 journalists at today’s conference, and that event was covered by four media representatives. There are one billion people with disabilities in the world. Nobody cares about that. No one cares,” Infantino noted.
– If you have to criticize someone, don’t put pressure on the players and coaches. You can criticize me. You can crucify me. That’s what I’m here for. Don’t criticize others. Don’t criticize Qatar. Let people enjoy this World Cup,” he concluded.