‘It’s incredibly unfair.’ FIFA boss blasts Western critics on eve of World Cup | CNN

DOHA, QATAR CNN — On the eve of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, FIFA president Gianni Infantino kicked off a tirade against Western critics of the controversial tournament in an explosive hour-long monologue. World Football Governing Body President Infantino looked somber as he addressed hundreds of reporters in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday. “We have learned many lessons from Europeans and the Western world.” He said, referring to his criticism of Qatar’s human rights record. “We Europeans must apologize for the next 3,000 years before we can teach them a moral lesson for what they have been doing for the past 3,000 years.” Despite the opening match, which opens on 20 November, the Infantino has focused on the hypocrisy of Western criticism, with little to say about football. During the surprise press conference, Infantino looked exhausted. He spent a lot of time defending FIFA’s decision to host the 2010 World Cup in Qatar. A controversial decision made when he was not president of the governing body. It will be a historic event, the first ever World Cup to be held in the Middle East, but it is also riddled with controversy, with much of the buildup focusing on human rights in the context of the deaths of migrant workers and many others. Enduring in Qatar for LGBTQ and women’s rights. Despite acknowledging that not everything was perfect, the Infantino said some of the criticism was “grossly unjust” and he accused the West of having a double standard. The Italian kicked off his hour-long press conference by telling reporters that he knew what it felt like to be discriminated against, saying he was bullied during his childhood for his red hair and freckles. “Today I feel Qatar. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel Africa. I feel gay today. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel like a migrant worker,” he said to a surprised audience. “I feel all of this. Because what I saw and what I heard, I did not read. Otherwise I’ll be depressed. “What I saw brings me back to my personal story. I am the son of migrant workers. My parents worked very hard under difficult circumstances.” The Infantino insisted that while progress had been made in Qatar on various issues, true change would take time, adding that FIFA would not leave Qatar after the tournament. He said he thought some Western journalists would forget the matter. “We must invest in education to give them hope and a better future. We all have to educate ourselves,” he said. “Reform and change take time. In our country in Europe, it took hundreds of years. Everywhere takes time. The only way to get results is to get involved. […] Not shouting.” The Infantino also answered questions about the last-minute decision to ban the sale of alcohol at the eight stadiums that will host the tournament’s 64 matches. In a statement issued Friday, FIFA said alcohol would be sold in fan zones and licensed venues. The Islamic State is considered very conservative and strictly regulates the sale and consumption of alcohol. In September, Qatar said it would allow ticketed fans to purchase alcoholic beverages at World Cup stadiums three hours before the start of World Cup matches and one hour after the final whistle, but not during matches. “First of all, I will make it clear that all decisions made in this World Cup are joint decisions between Qatar and FIFA,” he said. “All decisions are discussed, discussed and made jointly.” “There will be […] Over 200 places to buy alcohol in Qatar and over 10 fan zones where over 100,000 people can drink at the same time. “Personally, I think I could live without drinking beer for three hours a day.” “Especially because in France, Spain, Portugal and Scotland, where beer is not allowed in stadiums, the same rules actually apply,” he added. “I think it’s a big deal because it’s an Islamic State, or I don’t know why.” The Infantino ended the press conference by insisting that everyone would be safe in Qatar, amid concerns from the LGBTQ community. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and punishable by up to three years in prison, but the FIFA president has promised that the tournament is for everyone. “I will also mention the LGBT situation. I have spoken on this topic with the country’s top leadership not once, but many times. They confirmed that everyone is welcome and I can confirm that,” said Infantino. “This is a clear FIFA requirement. Everyone should be welcome. Everyone who comes to Qatar is welcome regardless of religion, race, sexual orientation or creed. Everyone is welcome. This was our requirement and the State of Qatar adheres to it,” Infantino said.

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