During the inaugural press conference of the World Cup held on Saturday morning in Doha, Qatar, Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, the organization that governs international football, gave a very rhetorical and polemical speech towards the criticisms raised against the organization of the World Cup which will start on Sunday in Qatar. The country has in fact been widely criticized in recent months: for how it obtained the award of the event, for the exploitation and the death of many workers who have dealt with the construction of infrastructure, as well as for the violations of human and civil rights that take place inside.
Infantino began his speech with a phrase whose meaning some commentators have pointed out is not very clear: «Today I have very strong feelings. Today I feel Qatari, I feel Arab, I feel African, I feel gay, I feel disabled, I feel like a migrant worker”.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino at news conference in Doha: “Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel a migrant worker” pic.twitter.com/GozWBXd1Fd
— Dan Roan (@danroan) November 19, 2022
The speech lasted almost an hour. Infantino recalled that he is European, and that “before giving moral lessons” Europeans should “apologize for the next 3,000 years” for what they have “done around the world in the last 3,000 years”. He also said that he finds it difficult to understand the many criticisms that have arrived in recent weeks from Western countries, arguing that their “one-way moral lesson” is “simple hypocrisy».
If Europe really cares about the fate of these people, Infantino continued, then it could “create legal channels in which these workers can go to Europe to work, as Qatar did”, and give them “a bit of a future a little hope”. Infantino then wondered why no one recognizes the progress made in Qatar in recent years, adding that he does not want to defend the country, but football. According to him, what will begin on Sunday 20 November will be “the best World Cup ever”.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino says the West is in no position ‘to give moral lessons’ to Qatar, adding that European nations should instead apologise for their own histories.
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Qatar is an absolute monarchy ruled for over 150 years by the al Thani family, it is a very rich country and a regional power thanks to its natural gas fields. The current reigning emir, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, has the power to appoint and fire the prime minister and the entire government, is the head of the armed forces and controls the judicial system. In Qatar, the press is censored and homosexuality is a crime that can be punished with the death penalty.
The great economic development of the country has created enormous imbalances and injustices over the years. Much of the economy is based on the work of migrant workers, who have no rights and often live in terrible conditions. Much of the infrastructure of the World Cup was built by them, with enormous sacrifices and a lot of dead due to the poor security conditions and exhausting pace.
– Read also: What is Qatar
With the World Cup approaching in Qatar, criticism of the host country has intensified. At the beginning of November FIFA he had invited the federations of the national teams that will play the World Cup to “concentrate on football” without “giving moral lessons” and without “getting drawn into political and ideological battles”. Despite the request, itself much criticized, in recent weeks both several teams and many commentators have taken a stand against various aspects related to the organization of the World Cup in the country.
– Read also: «The choice of Qatar was a mistake»
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Gianni Infantino’s strange speech in defense of the World Cup in Qatar – Il Post
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