- Gianni Infantino says that Europe should deal with its own misdeeds before pointing the finger at Qatar.
- The country has come under fire for its treatment of migrant workers and its human rights record.
- FIFA media chief Bryan Swanson, who is gay, told reporters they are welcome in Qatar.
Hours before the start of the World Cup in Qatar, FIFA President Gianni Infantino accused Western countries of “hypocrisy,” saying they were not in a position to deliver “moral lessons” to other nations.
On the day of the event, the Swiss-Italian host of a furious news conference in the Qatari capital argued that Europe should deal with its own misdeeds before pointing the finger at Qatar.
The country of Qatar, which was chosen in 2010 to host the World Cup, has come under fire for its treatment of migrant workers and its human rights record since winning the bid.
Italian migrant worker’s son Infantino claims that conditions for foreign workers in the Middle East have improved.
Infantino paused and looked directly at the assembled journalists before continuing, “I came here six years ago and addressed the matter of migrant workers straight on, in my very first meeting.”
“How many of these European or Western business companies, which earned millions upon millions from Qatar and other countries in the region – billions upon billions every year – how many of them addressed the rights of migrant workers with the authorities?
Despite the fact that homosexuality is a crime in Qatar, the country has extended an open invitation to all fans to attend the championship.
FIFA media chief Bryan Swanson, who is gay, told reporters after the news conference that they are welcome in Qatar.
Some have also questioned Qatar’s decision to ban alcohol sales in stadiums during the tournament, as the country is the first in the Arab world to host the event.
He added that this wasn’t unusual, since major European countries like France, Spain, Portugal, and Scotland all have laws prohibiting alcohol consumption inside of football stadiums.
On Sunday, Qatar will play Ecuador in the opening game of the 32-team tournament. Infantino praised the preparations that the Gulf country had made for the games.