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Today I feel a migrant Worker: FIFA President Gianni Infantino slams ‘hypocritical’ critics of 2022 Qatar World Cup

The man at the head of the Worldwide organisation has not held back, just a day before the tournament kicks off.

FIFA president has defended the World Cup being hosted in Qatar and warned that Europeans need to apologise for the last 3000 years of their actions before criticising the middle east in an extraordinary speech just 24 hours ahead of the tournament opener.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the tournament, which kicks off on Sunday as Qatar face Ecuador, Infantino moved to defend the decision to hand Qatar the tournament once more, branding those who have questioned the country’s human rights record ‘hypocrites’ in an outlandish outburst.

“I am European. 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”, he began.

“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, 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. I wonder why no-one recognises the progress made here since 2016.

“I don’t have to defend Qatar, they can defend themselves. I defend football. Qatar has made progress and I feel many other things as well.

“Of course I am not Qatari, Arab, African, gay, disabled or a migrant worker. But I feel like them because I know what it means to be discriminated and bullied as a foreigner in a foreign country.”

“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”

The FIFA president then had his say on the controversial beer U-turn, with the Qatar state banning beer from stadiums 48 hours before the first game of the tournament.

“Let me first assure you that every decision taken at this World Cup is a joint decision between Qatar and Fifa”, he continued.

“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.

“Especially because the same rules apply in France, Spain, Portugal and Scotland. Here it has become a big thing because it is a Muslim country? I don’t know why. We tried and that is why I give you the late change of policy. We tried to see if it was possible.”

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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