Fifa president Gianni Infantino has slammed the ” hypocrisy ” of Western criticism of Qatar’s human rights record, launching an impassioned defense of the Gulf nation’s World Cup on the eve of kick-off.
Concerns about Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community have dominated preparations for the race, clearly chafing organizers.
Qatari officials say their country has been the target of ” racism ” and ” double standards ” , pointing to what has been hailed in the region as groundbreaking reforms to working conditions and security.
Football itself once again took a backseat yesterday, with off-pitch politics set to take center stage 24 hours before hosts Qatar kick off against Ecuador.
Infantino had harsh words for Qatar’s critics at the tournament’s opening press conference in Doha.
” Such one-sided moral lessons are just hypocritical, ” he said. ” I don’t want to give you any life lessons, but what’s going on here is a deep, profound injustice. ”
He added: ” For what we Europeans have done in the last 3,000 years, we should apologize for the next 3,000 years before we start teaching people moral lessons. ”
Fifa president Gianni Infantino blasted the “hypocrisy” of Western critics of Qatar’s human rights record on Saturday, making a passionate defence of the World Cup in the Gulf state on the eve of the kick-off. Read more: https://t.co/Mkc6VILWjZ pic.twitter.com/EhY9MIccaY
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Infantino expresses support for marginalized communities
” 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, ” he said.
Another issue dominating race preparations is the sale of beer by the Islamic State, which strictly restricts alcohol consumption.
Organizers took a dramatic U-turn on Friday, banning the sale of beer around the stadium 48 hours before kickoff. World governing body FIFA did not give a reason for the surprise decision, but media reports suggested that Qatar’s ruling family had intervened.
Dozens of Budweiser tents have been set up on the field ahead of the first game .
Infantino ruled on the last-minute change on Saturday.
” I personally think that if you don’t drink beer for three hours a day, you can survive, ” he said. ” The same applies to France, Spain and Scotland. ”