FIFA's Infantino defends Qatar, accuses West of "hypocrisy"
Since the event has been overshadowed by issues in Qatar, Switzerland-born Infantino uses historically correct facts to argue a lesser of two evils in his defense of FIFA's reputation and decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino gave a lengthy, emotional defense of Qatar and the FIFA 2022 World Cup during a monologue at a news conference in Doha that lasted for almost an hour.
Since the event has been overshadowed by issues in Qatar, Switzerland-born Infantino used historically correct facts to argue a lesser of two evils in his defense of FIFA's reputation and decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar, with many Western countries accusing it of human rights violations. The FIFA president explained that Europe has committed more human rights violations historically.
He said "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 apologizing for the next 3,000 years before giving moral lessons."
Without any context or mention of the atrocities committed by Europeans across the Arab world, Infantino praised Qatar, adding that "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."
The FIFA president also noted that he has had "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" he highlighted, "is just hypocrisy."
He also asked why "no one recognizes the progress made here since 2016," and explained that "it is not easy to take the critics of a decision that was made 12 years ago."
Qatar will be "best world cup ever"
To further defend the Qatar decision, Infantino said "Qatar is ready, it will be the best World Cup ever."
Furthermore, he added "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."
Infantino also announced the establishment of a "dedicated and permanent office" in Doha, following discussions with the Qatar government and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) after Qatar was pressured to build a migrant workers' center.
In a final defense, the FIFA president said that every worker that has an accident "receives compensation by law, depending on the magnitude, it can be several years of salary."
On a different note, since Qatar earned the right to host the 2022 World Cup, TheGuardian claimed in February 2021 that 6,500 migrant workers from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka have died there. The number is based on data given by the embassies of the countries in Qatar.
The Qatari government, however, claimed that the figure was inaccurate since not all of the fatalities reported were workers engaged in World Cup-related activity.
According to the government's accident data, 37 workers died on World Cup stadium building sites between 2014 and 2020, with only three of them being "work-related."