FIFA president says that the West shouldn’t criticize Qatar’s hosting the World Cup. He also said that European countries should apologise about their pasts.
Gianni Infantino stated that critics could not “give moral lessons to people” during a news conference marking the opening of The Tournament.
This small Middle Eastern country has been criticized for its treatment and attitude towards LBGTQ+ rights.
Concerns have also been raised about the guarantees made on larger, more important issues.
Infantino, however, defended the host country and said: “For the things we Europeans have done around the globe in the past 3,000 years, we should be apologising over the next 3,000 year before we start to teach moral lessons to the people.”
“How many European or Western businesses that earn millions, billions from Qatar have addressed the rights of migrant workers with the authorities?”
“None of them,” because changing the law means less profit. We did and FIFA now generates less profit than any other Qatari company.
He said, “Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arabic. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today, I feel disabled. Today, I feel like a migrant worker.
“Of course, I’m not Qatari, an Arab, or African, and I’m not gay. I’m not disabled.
“But it’s something I feel, because I know what it is to be discriminated against, bullied as a foreigner living in a foreign land.
“As a child, I was bullied because I had freckles and red hair, plus I was Italian.
“What should you do?” Engage, make friends.
“Don’t start accusing, fighting, insulting, you start engaging.
“And this should be what we do.”
Infantino stated to Sky News that despite Qatar’s late-night U-turn on alcohol sales at tournament stadiums, and any implications this might have for other assurances, he felt 200% in control.
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He also tried to minimize the change, pointing out that similar bans were in place at stadiums in France, Spain, and Scotland.
Infantino stated that it was never too late to make changes. Perhaps we’ll have to make other changes on other topics in the interim, but I don’t know.
“But when it is about the security of people – you spoke of LGBT – everyone’s safety is guaranteed, starting at the highest level in the country. This is the guarantee we gave, and we will keep it.”
Qatar’s “kafala system” is a set labor laws that allows Qatari businesses or individuals to seize passports of workers and prevent them from leaving the country.
Human rights groups claim that this gives developers the freedom to exploit them, putting them in grueling work conditions for low pay and not allowing them home until their projects are realized.
Reports of deaths of migrants in the 12 years prior to the tournament have varied from a few dozen up to several thousand.
Sharia law in Qatar means that same-sex activity can result in punishments that range from seven years imprisonment to death by stone cutting.