Gianni Infantino, the president of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), has finally responded to calls against Qatar’s reputation for abusing human rights
Infantino, in a speech on Saturday, criticised Europe for its ”hypocrisy” and claimed to sympathise with migrants.
FIFA will start the World Cup, its global tournament, in Qatar on Sunday. However, the deaths of migrant workers and ill treatment of people based on their sexual orientation in Qatar have drawn criticism to FIFA’s choice.
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“Today I have strong feelings. Today, I feel Qatari, I feel Arab, I feel African, I feel gay, I feel disabled, I feel a migrant worker,” Infantino said in Doha on Saturday.
“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.
“If Europe really cares 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 take time.
“This one-sided moral lesson is just hypocrisy. I wonder why no one recognises the progress made here since 2016.
“It is not easy to take the critics of a decision that was made 12 years ago. Qatar is ready; it will be the best World Cup ever.
“I don’t have to defend Qatar. They can defend themselves. I defend football.”
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Reports estimate about 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since it became the World Cup host.
Qatar and other Arab nations, such as the United Arab Emirates, have been found to maltreat migrants, including Nigerians, without sanction.
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