Roughly 30 hours before the 2022 FIFA World Cup commences in Qatar, the President of FIFA, Mr Gianni Infantino, has embroiled himself in controversy by making outrageous remarks in an hour-long press conference.
Infantino delivered, what he hoped would be, a hard-hitting speech on the politics surrounding the World Cup and the host country only to have it all backfire on him.
It is worth noting, however, that the same man, Infantino, spearheaded criticism toward nations and entities politicizing the World Cup through a letter full of conviction about his beliefs, a mere two weeks ago.
Previously, the governing body released a letter addressed to all the national teams saying, “We know that football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world. But please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.”
Therefore, today’s press conference has certainly left all of Twitter and the global football fanbase at their wits end as to what the motive of Infantino’s press conference and his hour-long speech about the politics surrounding the World Cup was, and how he managed to botch it up as royally as he did.
Effectively, in an extremely tone-deaf manner, Infantino said, “Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel a migrant worker.”
In the context of the speech, Infantino made the remarks in a bid to criticise the west’s hypocrisy and maybe pour some water over the political fire around the World Cup.
Qatar’s poor track record with respect to human rights has been in the limelight for a long time and that has been the very fact of attack and criticism from the rest of the world.
But, his remarks left a terrible impression on football fans all over the world.
In fact, journo Twitter clearly did not believe that he had the right to speak the way he did.
Expressing fury toward his speech, Twitter users pointed out that the FIFA president lived a life of luxury and privilege, and had no logical idea about the hardships faced by migrant workers, members of the LGBTQIA community, and every other race in the country.
The Chief Football Writer for Times Sport, Henry Winter, tweeted a strongly worded message for Infantino’s speech.
Other prominent journalists did not hold back from slamming Infantino’s remarks either.
Ronan Murphy, a noted football pundit, also compared the President’s speech with Ronaldo’s interview.
Adam Crafton highlighted the gravity of the situation by directly attacking the President for his remarks in favour of Qatar.
Matt Dickinson also pointed out that it was the President of FIFA himself that “pled” the rest of the world to simply focus on football and not drag every political battle into the conversation about FIFA in Qatar.
Dickinson also lamented the fact that Infantino attempted to talk about every social issue that exists in Qatar merely 2 weeks after his criticism of the politicisation of the World Cup.
Another tweet highlights the fact that Infantino’s speech was utterly outrageous given the kind of privilege he enjoys in his position.
Here are some more journos reacting to Infantino’s absurd speech –
It is difficult to defend the football body’s president and his ridiculous remarks at a time when the entire world is woke to the enforcement and guarantee of human rights.
Moreover, the fact that President simply has no standing to be claiming to understand vicariously what the gay community, the worker community, or any other oppressed community in Qatar feels.
And the worst aspect of his speech is that he made it on the eve of the globe’s largest celebration of the sport of football.