FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes there is hypocrisy over Europe’s attitude towards World Cup hosts Qatar and its values.
Much has been made in the western world about Qatar’s record on human rights, LGBT rights and worker treatment, yet Infantino went on the counter-offensive with a rather bizarre speech.
“I think for what we Europeans have been doing the last 3,000 years we should be apologising for next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons to people,” he said in Doha.
“Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arabic. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel a migrant worker.
“Of course I am not Qatari, I am not an Arab, I am not African, I am not gay, I am not disabled. But I feel like it, because I know what it means to be discriminated, to be bullied, as a foreigner in a foreign country. As a child I was bullied – because I had red hair and freckles, plus I was Italian so imagine.”
Infantino then appeared to defend Qatar’s migrant worker scheme, even suggesting that Europe could follow a similar strategy.
“What do you do then? You try to engage, make friends. Don’t start accusing, fighting, insulting, you start engaging. And this is what we should be doing.
“If Europe would really care about the destiny of these young people, Europe could do as Qatar did, create some legal channels, where at least a number, a percentage of these workers could come.
“Lower revenues but give them some hope, give them some future. This means we shouldn’t point to what doesn’t work, here in Qatar as well, of course, there are some things that don’t work that need to be addressed.
“This moral lesson giving, one-sided, it’s just hypocrisy.”