The latest edition of football’s biggest international competition was of course kicked into gear a short time ago.
The clash saw hosts Qatar play host to CONMEBOL outfit Ecuador.
A double on the part of one-time West Ham United hitman Enner Valencia ultimately proved enough to guide the latter to a comfortable, and altogether deserved 2-0 triumph.
As alluded to above, though, amid the unfolding action at the Al Bayt Stadium, the subject of the organisation of the Qatar World Cup, and governing body FIFA as an entity, was brought to the fore in a major way once more.
This comes after president Gianni Infantino was subjected to widespread backlash a little over 24 hours ago, owing to an altogether bizarre tangent which saw the Swiss-Italian explain:
“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.”
Speaking as part of his tournament punditry role on beIN Sports, the aforementioned Gary Neville, in turn, made full use of the opportunity to vent his frustrations with both Infantino and, from a wider viewpoint, FIFA:
“Some of the things he [Infantino] said yesterday were inappropriate and shouldn’t be said by him. He should be statesmanlike. He should be bringing people together, not answering to one or two nations, like he did yesterday.
“I’m sick of these leaders like [Boris] Johnson, like [Donald] Trump, like [Gianni] Infantino, like [Sepp] Blatter, who to be fair, who don’t unite, they divide: all their language is about division. Even though they try and think they’re bringing people together, they’re not. I have to say, some of his language yesterday about ‘I am a migrant worker, I am disabled’… it’s an absolute scandal, he shouldn’t be using that kind of language.
“I think FIFA is a poor representation of what football is, which is a beautiful game, enjoyed by communities in Brazil to Bury, to Bolivia to Peru to everywhere. I have to say, I think FIFA needs to clean up its act, it’s been bad for so long and my personal feeling with Infantino is that he’s put himself back in power for four years, there’s no transparency, no independence.
“That’s football’s problem, it’s representative of the rich and the elite in life. We’ve got to have independence, we’ve got to have a democracy. And then he’s the worst face to represent a Middle Eastern, Muslim and Qatar World Cup.”