World Cup 2022: Infantino turns on Qatar critics, plus latest news – live | World Cup 2022

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Key events

Anyway, what better time for Fifa to release their #FootballUnitesTheWorld message? A cynic might say that their largely vacuous new “social campaign” is an attempt to flood our screens and obscure the fact that some players will be wearing rainbow armbands in support of LGBTQ+ rights. But, no, they wouldn’t be that sly, would they?

In case anyone has forgotten, it’s only a few weeks since Infantino wrote a letter to all 32 teams at the World Cup urging them not to talk politics and to “focus on the football”.

Launching into an incredibly pernicious, misleading and inflammatory harangue on the eve of the tournament is fine, though. Hypocrisy? You be the judge.

Someone has shared their thoughts on Infantino via Twitter! Unfortunately, they are unpublishable.

While Infantino is busy feeling like a migrant worker from the comfort of his sofa, here’s a timely reminder of how the story of the brutal working conditions for low-paid labourers in Qatar has developed over the last decade.

Has Infantino’s speech gone down well, then? It’s probably best for him not to check Twitter for a while. Or the news media. Or television. Or anywhere outside of his reality-bending Fifa bubble.

Infantino: a man so laughably blind to his own hypocrisy it feels at times like a brilliantly realised piece of performance art https://t.co/cmRNbPUBGa

— Barney Ronay (@barneyronay) November 19, 2022

“Everything is terrible” is not a defence to endorsing or enabling terrible things, and yet I am seeing it a lot on here in recent days. It’s fascinating to see authoritarian rule being excused and even embraced as the new normal. https://t.co/XEFGXzPSXe

— Musa Okwonga (@Okwonga) November 19, 2022

Here’s a reminder of what conditions for migrant workers in Qatar are like. Infantino empathises, obviously, just as long as nobody is overly critical.

Infantino’s speech

“Today I have strong feelings. Today I feel Qatari, I feel Arab, I feel African, I feel gay, I feel disabled, I feel [like] a migrant worker.”

It was a strong start from Infantino, that’s for sure. Why exactly the multimillionaire Fifa president thinks he can identify with a migrant worker labouring on low wages in exploitative and dangerous conditions on a Qatari infrastructure project, only he knows.

Then again, given that he went on to say “I know what it feels to be discriminated … I was bullied because I had red hair” – drawing an absurd false equivalence between himself and LGBTQ+ people who face repression and criminalisation in Qatar – an iota of self-awareness is clearly too much to ask. Here are the main points from his press conference in Doha, in case you’d like to have your intelligence insulted further.

Preamble

Hello, and welcome to our World Cup buildup blog. What’s that? Gianni Infantino has done a speech? No doubt it was a sensible, coherent, morally sound … sorry, he said what?!

Gianni Infantino looking exasperated
We know the feeling, Gianni. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters



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