Gianni Infantino: FIFA boss calls criticism of World Cup “hypocritical”

World Cup 2022 in Qatar
“That’s hypocritical”: FIFA boss Infantino attacks World Cup critics

In attack mode: Fifa boss Gianni Infantino no longer wants to hear the ongoing criticism of World Cup hosts Qatar.

© Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP

With drastic words, Fifa boss Gianni Infantino rejects any criticism of World Cup hosts Qatar. The Swiss sees criticism from Europe in particular as “hypocritical” and refers to history.

One day before the opening game, Fifa President Gianni Infantino denounced Western nations for “double standards” against World Cup hosts Qatar. “I think what we Europeans have done around the world for the past 3,000 years, we should apologize for the next 3,000 years before we start giving moral advice to others,” said the 52-year-old during a press conference on Saturday in Al -Rajjan. It is “sad” to have to experience this “double standard”.

Qatar has been criticized for years for its poor handling of human rights and the living conditions of foreign workers, which has also been voiced by independent organizations such as Amnesty International. The government of the emirate rejects this.

Gianni Infantino: Qatar and Fifa take care of the workers

“How many of these western companies that are receiving billions from Qatar here — how many of them have spoken out about migrant workers’ rights? None of them,” Infantino said, without giving examples. “Who takes care of the workers? Who? Fifa does it, football does it, the World Cup does it – and, to be fair, Qatar does it too.”

The Fifa president, who has a secondary residence in Doha, said he didn’t understand why the progress in Qatar wasn’t recognised. “This way of wanting to give lessons one-sidedly is hypocritical.”

The Swiss opened his press conference with: “Today I feel very strong feelings, today I feel Qatari, today I feel Arab, today I feel African. Today I feel homosexual. Today I feel disabled, today I feel me as a migrant worker.”

Infantino guarantees safety for queer people

The FIFA boss assured all queer people a day before the opening of the World Cup in Qatar that they are welcome and safe in the country of the World Cup host. “I can confirm that everyone is welcome here,” said the 52-year-old president of the world football association in Al-Rajjan on Saturday. “It is a clear requirement of Fifa that everyone who comes here must be welcome. It doesn’t matter what religion, skin color or sexual orientation they have.” The Qatari government is sticking to it, emphasized the Fifa boss.

The safety and freedom of people in the LGBTQI+ community is one of the major and worrying World Cup issues, along with the living conditions for the millions of foreign workers in Qatar. When asked, Infantino emphasized that everyone was safe in Qatar. “The security is guaranteed by the highest level in the country. That is a guarantee that we have made and that we stand behind.”

Infantino emphasized that changes can only be achieved through dialogue. “If someone thinks it’s enough to criticize harshly, that’s no use, that’s seen as a provocation,” said the Swiss. “The reaction will then be to close down even more.”

Change takes time, and he himself has changed his attitude towards these issues over the years. “Of course I’m convinced it should be allowed, but I’ve also gone through a process,” he said, referring to impending penalties for homosexuals in Qatar. According to the law, homosexuality is illegal in the country and punishable by up to seven years in prison. Shortly before the World Cup, Qatar’s World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman described homosexuality as “mental damage” in a ZDF interview.


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