FIFA president Gianni Infantino hit back at criticism of Qatar’s human rights record on Saturday, blasting the “hypocrisy” of Western critics on the eve of the World Cup kick-off.
Infantino, speaking at his opening press conference of the tournament in Doha, also expressed support for the LGBTQ community and migrant workers.
“This moral lesson-giving — one-sided — is just hypocrisy,” said the Swiss.
“I don’t want to give you any lessons of life, but what is going on here is profoundly, profoundly unjust.”
He added: “For what we Europeans have been doing for the last 3,000 years we should apologise for the next 3,000 years before starting giving moral lessons to people.”
The build-up to the tournament in the Gulf state has been dominated by concerns over Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community.
Infantino expressed his support for those communities.
“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,” he said.
Qatar officials say their country has been the target of “racism” and “double standards”. They point to the reforms on working conditions and safety that have been hailed as groundbreaking in the Gulf region.
The World Cup kicks off on Sunday when host nation Qatar take on Ecuador in the opening match.
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