The FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, has accused people who have been critical of Qatar’s human rights record of alleged racism and hypocrisy on the eve of the 2022 World Cup finals.
An astonishing 57-minute diatribe which drew gasps of astonishment, was given by Infantino. He claimed that western nations are in no position to offer moral lessons about Qatar’s past and current behavior.
“We have been told many lessons from some Europeans, from the western world,” he said. “I think for what we Europeans have been doing the last 3,000 years, we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before giving moral lessons to people.”
The QFA has also made some positive changes in workers’ rights, which have been very successful in recent years.
When he arrives, Infantino starts his speech with a story about his time as a son of Italian immigrants in Switzerland. This is to help convey that he understands how hard it can be for migrants and minorities so they know they’re not alone.
“Today I feel Qatari,” he said. “Today, I feel Arab. Today I feel African.” Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel like a migrant worker.”
His red hair, freckles, and Italian heritage led to bullying. It’s an incredible story that he shares in the piece.
In the monologue, Tom Stern said that he felt he had missed half of the world’s population. “I feel like a woman too!” Infantino added.
A Swiss diplomat visiting Qatar met with workers at a migrant camp where they discussed the country’s progress, including laws being passed to protect migrant workers and change the kafala system that ties them to employers.
In 2017, the Guardian reported that at least 6,500 migrant workers died in Qatar in preparations for the World Cup. However, Infantino said such criticisms are hypocritical given that 25,000 migrants have died trying to enter Europe since 2014.
“Qatar has offered them this opportunity,” he said. “They do it legally there. At home, immigrants are treated poorly, and we don’t allow them in at all.”
Qatari soccer player Ahmed Humaidi believes that Europe should do more to protect the rights of migrants. He believes that European countries should create legal channels for migrants so they don’t have to survive their dangerous travels through the Mediterranean Sea.
Infantino insisted that LGBTQ+ rights would be protected in Qatar during the World Cup. “They have confirmed, and I can confirm, that everyone is welcome,” he said. “If someone says the opposite–it’s not the country’s opinion, it certainly isn’t Fifa.”
What does it take for the LGBTQ community to gain ground in its struggle for equality? Political dialogue can be difficult. Talking with people and demanding change is one way, but it’s not always enough. Remember that you can help keep doors open by advocating change while living life to the fullest. Persistence is key.
Infantino accused journalists who have questioned whether “fake fans” support England at this World Cup of racism, saying, “Can someone who looks like an Indian not cheer for England? Or for Spain or Germany? Do you know what this is? This is racism. This is pure racism. And we can stop that.”
It seems like there was a lot of confusion over the alcohol ban implemented two days before the World Cup. But, on Friday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro swept the fear away when he quipped that if you cannot enjoy a beer for three hours a day, it would be bearable.
“The same rules apply in France, Spain, Portugal, and Scotland. Here it has become a big thing because it is a Muslim country. I don’t know why. We tried, so I am giving you the late policy change. Whether or not your company can accept our policy change is up to you.”
Infantino defended Qatar by saying, “I hope they can enjoy the World Cup. Don’t criticize Qatar because of what I’m doing. That is not fair.”
He said: “We defend human rights, even if it is against our culture. Do women love the game more than men? That’s why the Women’s League was established in Sudan. Let’s get together and celebrate that. Don’t try to divide us by the different cultures we come from. We play football as one.”
Qatar’s alleged maltreatment of migrant workers has drawn criticism from human rights groups worldwide, but the country is coming up with all sorts of talking points about how it isn’t their fault. Meanwhile, Qatar has the FIFA president doing their dirty work as well.
Amnesty International released a statement following the news: “In brushing aside his concerns and pressing forward with the legislation, Mr. Trump sets a disturbing precedent. This is highly problematic and immoral.”