We’re organising a World Cup – we’re not organising a war!Gianni Infantino – FIFA President
The FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, recently spoke out against those criticising Qatar for hosting the World Cup 2022. Defending Qatar, Infantino delivered a compelling speech on how the West should return to itself before criticising others.
In a 54-minute speech, he said, “I have very strong feelings, I can tell you that. Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel like a migrant worker.”
As Qatar is the first Arab and Muslim country to host the World Cup, many in the West have decided to take this chance to criticise the country for its human rights record.
But many feel that this criticism is hypocritical as those criticising have also been accountable for similar behaviour. On this note, Infantino mentioned, “We have been taught many lessons from Europeans and the Western world. 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.“
Infantino and Migrant Workers
Tackling the point many newspapers have made about the mistreatment of workers in Qatar, Infantino argued that the World Cup stood to improve things. “The kafala system was abolished, minimum wages were introduced, heat protections were put in place. ILO, unions acknowledged this, but media don’t, or some don’t,” he said.
He also went on to say, “Qatar is offering them this opportunity. They do it in a legal way. We in Europe, we close our borders. We don’t allow practically any workers from these countries who are trying to come to work legally in our countries.”
“Those who reach Europe, or those who want to come to Europe, they have to go through very difficult journeys. Only a few survive. So if you really care about the destiny of these people – these young people – Europe can do as Qatar did. Create some channels, some legal channels, to increase the percentage of these workers to come to Europe. Give them some work. Give them some future.”
Stunned to Silence
“Just when you thought this most talked-about World Cup was about to kick off, Infantino launched into an incredible pre-planned monologue that stunned the room into silence,” the BBC reports.
The BBC also report that journalists and camera crew in the room “looked around aghast before jaws hit the floor as Infantino unleashed a 54-minute speech that pulled no punches on media coverage of migrant workers, the LGBT community and the last-minute U-turn on alcohol consumption.”
Whilst it was a shocking moment, Infantino’s speech was a wake-up call for the many of us criticising aimlessly. What’s more, Infantino’s speech stood to challenge every news story trying their best to demean Qatar as the host of the World Cup.
Juber Ahmed is our Digital Editor and travel enthusiast with a keen interest in Islamic history and heritage. He travels with his wife to various places around the world and writes about his experiences.
Juber's favourite Quote...
"The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page" [Saint Augustine]