FIFA President Gianni Infantino has raised eyebrows in his attempts to criticize Qatar on the eve of the World Cup.
Infantino tried to take stock of the hypocrisy, but risked overshadowing his message with a poorly worded monologue, in which he declared: “Today I feel Qatari. Today, I feel Arab. Today, I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today, I feel handicapped.
The football boss was specifically responding to criticism of Qatar from Europe, as he held a press conference just around 30 hours until the tournament kicked off in Sunday’s opening clash between the hosts Qatar and Ecuador – who we’ll be bringing to you LIVE on talkSPORT.
The game’s world governing body has come under attack for its decision to hold the final in Qatar, where the treatment of migrant workers and the rights of LGBTQ+ people were on the spotlight.
Instead of ramping up the excitement for the tournament the day before it started, the chef instead took the opportunity to try and cool some of the heat that FIFA has endured.
Infantino had a strong word for all of Qatar’s European critics, saying history suggests they are not in a position to “learn people’s moral lessons”.
But it’s likely all the focus will be on one section of his extraordinary speech, rather than his overall message.
Speaking on Saturday morning, Infantino said: “We have taught many, many lessons to some Europeans, from the western world.
Most Read Football
Rooney picks the perfect time to comment on the GOAT debate between Messi and Ronaldo
Wigan to hire Kolo Toure as new boss just days after brother Yaya rejected the job
How to watch Cristiano Ronaldo’s full explosive interview with Piers Morgan
Beer BANNED at World Cup as Qatar forces FIFA to turn around and Budweiser after response
Everything you need to know about the World Cup, from fixtures to stadiums and times
Man United seek to sack Ronaldo as club confirm they are taking ‘appropriate action’
“I think for what we Europeans have done for the past 3,000 years, we should apologize for the next 3,000 years before we start giving people moral lessons.”
Infantino then added: “Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today, I feel like a migrant worker.
“Of course, I’m not Qatari, I’m not Arab, I’m not African, I’m not gay, I’m not disabled.
“But I feel like it, because I know what it means to be discriminated against, bullied, as a foreigner in a foreign country. As a child, I was bullied – because I had red hair and freckles, plus I was Italian, so imagine.
“What do you do then? You try to engage, make friends. Don’t start accusing, fighting, insulting, you start engaging.
“And that’s what we should do.”
talkSPORT World Cup 2022 coverage
talkSPORT will provide wall-to-wall coverage of the 2022 World Cup
We will broadcast all 64 matches of the tournament live, with over 600 hours of coverage on our network.
You can tune into talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 via our free online streaming service at talkSPORT.com.
talkSPORT is widely available across the UK via DAB digital radio and on 1089 or 1053 AM.
You can also download the talkSPORT app or ask your smart speaker to play talkSPORT.