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'The best World Cup ever' - FIFA president defends Qatar 2022

James Aldred

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'The best World Cup ever' - FIFA president defends Qatar 2022

FIFA's president Gianni Infantino has defended the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on the eve of the tournament getting underway.

In nearly an hour long monologue, the Swiss-Italian accused the West of 'hypocrisy' in their reporting of the country's human rights record and promised fans that the next few weeks will be 'the best World Cup ever'.

'Today I have strong feelings,' he told the press in Doha. 'Today I feel Qatari. I feel Arab.

'I feel African. I feel gay. I feel disabled. I feel a migrant worker.'

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Infantino's comments allude to the controversies that surround the tournament, including Qatar's treatment of workers at construction sites across the country and the disabled and LGBT+ community.

But Infantino said the West were in no position to question the Gulf State.

"I am European," he continued. "For what we have been doing for 3,000 years around the world, we should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before giving moral lessons.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino insists Qatar is open to all fans (Image: PA)
FIFA president Gianni Infantino insists Qatar is open to all fans (Image: PA)

"If Europe really care about the destiny of these people, they can create legal channels- like Qatar did- where a number of these workers can come to Europe to work. Give them some future, give them some hope.

"I have difficulties understanding the criticism. We have to invest in helping these people, in education and to give them a better future and more hope. We should all educate ourselves, many things are not perfect but reform and change takes time.

"This one-sided moral lesson is just hypocrisy...Qatar is ready, it will be the best World Cup ever."

The 52 year old also addressed FIFA's U-turn on alcohol sales, with supporters now unable to buy beer at eight World Cup venues.

"If this is the biggest issue we have for the World Cup then I will resign immediately and go to the beach to relax,' Infantino said.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.  Credit: Xinhua / Alamy
FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Credit: Xinhua / Alamy

"Let me first assure you that every decision taken at this World Cup is a joint decision between Qatar and FIFA.

"There will be many fan zones where you can buy alcohol in Qatar and fans can simultaneously drink alcohol. I think if for three hours a day you cannot drink a beer, you will survive."

The 2022 FIFA World Cup starts tomorrow, with hosts Qatar taking on Ecuador in Doha.

Featured Image Credit: FIFA

Topics: Qatar, Gianni Infantino, FIFA, Football World Cup

James Aldred
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