Fifa president Gianni Infantino’s fervent plea

If he’s never been a top-flight player, Gianni Infantino is the undisputed central defender of the Qatar World Cup team. And on Saturday, November 19, he multiplied the struggle. On the eve of the start of the World Cup (from November 20 to December 18), the president of the International Football Federation (FIFA) spoke and scolded the players. “hypocrites” Western countries attacking the organization of the tournament in the small Gulf country, especially in the name of human rights.

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The Swiss leader of the international organization turned into a lawyer within an hour and gave a moral lesson to Westerners with his decisive political speech. Between the half “I, the President of the Republic” Francois Hollande and “I am a Berliner” By John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Gianni Infantino opened his thoughts with an anaphora: “Today I feel like a Qatari; today I feel Arab; today I feel African; i feel gay today; today I feel disabled; Today I feel like a migrant worker. » He later apologized for not adding it “Today I am a woman”.

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So firmly on the side of the discriminated against, the FIFA leader went so far as to recall his memories of the children of Italian immigrants in Switzerland. “because I was raped[il] he had red hair, in childhood. This introduction by a somewhat visionary leader, rare for months, served as a warm-up before the main course: a staunch defense of the host country, interspersed with criticism of its critics.

“I’m responsible for everything”

Qatar has been the target of criticism since hosting the biggest international sporting event in 2010. And for several weeks, reports have been increasing, especially to document the exploitation of foreign workers who toiled on construction sites, the environmental bill of such an event, or spying on personalities or media deemed too critical.

As Qatar’s leaders, as its Foreign Minister world, early november “The hypocrisy of the attacks ignores everything we have achieved”, Gianni Infantino urged the world to look at the glass half full rather than focusing on the real or perceived flaws of the Gulf country. And to avoid “Moral Lessons” according to him, quickly a “racism” Against the first Arab country to host the World Cup.

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Sorry “We can’t focus on football” A day before the start of the World Cup, the FIFA boss insisted on serving as a thunderbolt to the storm of criticism, hoping to sufficiently resolve all questions within an hour. “If you have to criticize someone, criticize me. Crucify me, that’s what I’m here for. Do not criticize or pressure the players, let them focus on footballrepeated Mr. Infantino. Do not criticize Qatar, players or anyone. Criticize FIFA or me because I am responsible for everything. »

He is responsible for everything, but he is not to blame. Gianni Infantino recalled being out of a job when the World Cup was awarded to Qatar in 2010 and commented on the progress the Gulf emirate has made since 2015 – the year he was elected. All critical minds took it for their degrees. Europe and beyond “migration policy”therefore “Since 2014, 25,000 migrants have died”, The head of FIFA said this with reference to the investigation of the Human Rights Watch organization. “No one has demanded compensation for the families of these migrants, aren’t their lives worth anything? »he reminded that while the European countries close their borders to migrants in order to live, Qatar opens its doors to workers from India, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries.

Fund for migrant workers

Gianni Infantino, without denying the concerns faced by migrant workers in the Gulf country, reminded in his own way that Rome was not built in a day. “Reforms and changes take time. It took hundreds of years in Europe to get to where we are.”he insisted again reproachfully “deeply unfair criticism”.

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“Who cares about migrant workers? FIFA, football and frankly, Qatar too”, Gianni Infantino listed the changes made to Qatari labor legislation in recent years. Announcing the creation of a fund for migrant workers – will be a request from Amnesty International “Probably a percentage of World Cup earnings”the leader made critics around the world face their responsibilities. “It will be open to anyone who wants to invest here”insisted Mr. Infantino.

For an hour and a half – including questions – in a sometimes moony tone, FIFA’s polyglot boss defended “his” World Cup. “For what Europe has done to the world in the last three thousand years, one should start by apologizing for three thousand years before teaching anyone a lesson.”, launched. Rarely attacking, Mr Infantino tried to open the abscess in his own way in the hope of giving way to the game, which was due to start with the Qatar-Ecuador match at 5pm (Paris time) on Sunday: “Doha is ready, Qatar is ready. And this will be the most beautiful world championship in history. »

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