President of world football governing body FIFA, Gianni Infantino has said that Europe and the rest of the Western world has no right to give moral lessons.
Infantino stated this on the eve of the 2022 World Cup billed to kick off in Qatar today (Sunday).
There had been criticisms against hosts country Qatar in the build up of the tournament, over issues in the Arab nation including reported deaths of migrant workers and treatment of LGBT people.
In a long and passionate speech on Saturday night, the football chief started by saying: “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.”
He added: “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.
“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.
“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. 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.
“As a child I was bullied because I had red hair and freckles. I was bullied for that.”
The FIFA 2022 World Cup will take place between 20 November and 18 December 2022.
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