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Comment: Derision and division? Infantino’s Qatar legacy

By Andrew Warshaw

November 21 – Two weeks ago, as organisers put the finishes touches to 12 years of planning, the president of FIFA and his trusted number two – clearly alarmed about their showpiece tournament being undermined by constant criticism over Qatar’s human rights record – took the unprecedented step of pleading with the 32 finalists to concentrate on the football and not to preach morality.

Fast forward to last Saturday on the eve of the big kick-off and Gianni Infantino, with exultant Trump-like bombast, stepped up the rhetoric, using the traditional eve-of-tournament press conference to spew out the most delusional, toxic diatribe in the history of the corruption-chequered organisation.

If Infantino’s 57-minute exercise in self-aggrandisement  as he attacked the west for 3,000 years of exploitation and colonialism was supposed to sweep away all the posturing about Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and the LBGTQ+ community and focus the mind on football, it backfired spectacularly.

Here was the president of FIFA behaving like a footballing Tsar, accusing the West  of hypocrisy, even throwing in his own experience of being bullied as school to somehow justify his spurious, self-obsessed rant.

Having pleaded with the teams only a fortnight previously not to give lessons in morality, who was the hypocrite now?

As cringe-worthy monologues go, this was right up there, far more outrageous than the worst excesses of his predecessor, Sepp Blatter who, just to remind you, voted for the United States as 2022 hosts.

Astonishingly, Infantino at one point even seemed to suggest that Qatar offered greater hope to refugees than Europe. Yet according to media reports, last year Qatar took just 197 refugees, despite being one of the world’s richest nations.

Amid all the self-delusion and kow-towing to his royal hosts, Infantino conveniently forgot one thing. It is exactly BECAUSE of western pressure, not in spite of it, that workers’…


Source link : https://www.insideworldfootball.com/2022/11/21/comment-derision-division-infantinos-qatar-legacy/

Author : Paul Nicholson

Publish date : 2022-11-21 14:17:39

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