The Qatar World Cup is already a shambles and there hasn’t yet, even been a ball kicked in anger.
Fans had been sold tickets and had travelled to this Qatar World Cup on the basis that on matchdays, they would be allowed to drink alcohol within the grounds / specified area around, of each stadium – before, during and after matches in a specified time frame.
Friday saw a last minute change, the Qatar World Cup organisers announcing this was now not allowed, no alcohol on sale to fans, in and around stadiums on a matchday.
However, for those putting on this Qatar World Cup, things got even more bizarre / ridiculous on Saturday, totally losing the plot.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino accusing the West of “hypocrisy” in its reporting about Qatar’s human rights record…as he launched an extraordinary monologue lasting almost an hour
The FIFA President defending the Qatar World Cup and indeed Qatar itself. As he covered the deaths of migrant workers, human rights issues…and the u-turn on alcohol in and around stadiums on matchdays.
Gianni Infantino declaring:
“Today I have strong feelings.
“Today I feel Qatari.
“I feel Arab.
“I feel African.
“I feel gay.
“I feel disabled.
“I feel a migrant worker.
“We have been taught many lessons from Europeans and the Western world.
“I am European.
“For what we have been doing for 3,000 years around the world, we should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before giving moral lessons.
“If Europe really care about the destiny of these people, they can create legal channels, like Qatar did, where a number of these workers can come to Europe to work.
“Give them some future, some hope.
“I have difficulties understanding the criticism.
“We have to invest in helping these people, in education and to give them a better future and more hope.
“We should all educate ourselves, many things are not perfect but reform and change takes time.
“This one-sided moral lesson is just hypocrisy.
“I wonder why no one recognises the progress made here since 2016.
“It is not easy to take the critics of a decision that was made 12 years ago.
“Qatar is ready, it will be the best World Cup ever.
“I don’t have to defend Qatar, they can defend themselves.
“I defend football.
“Qatar has made progress and I feel many other things as well.
“Of course I am not Qatari, Arab, African, gay, disabled or a migrant worker….
“However, I feel like them because I know what it means to be discriminated and bullied as a foreigner in a foreign country.
“I know what it means to be discriminated.
“As a child at school I was bullied because I had red hair.
“If you can’t drink beer for three hours, I think you can survive.
“There are many countries that ban alcohol in stadiums, like France, but since it’s a Muslim country, that’s a problem.”
Where do you start?
Well, taking the last point, first.
The FIFA boss says the tournament has been planned for 12 years, well why has it taken until two days before the first match, for all fans to be told that there will be no alcohol on sale in and around stadiums on matchdays, including before and after the games?
Fans have paid fortunes to come to this Qatar World Cup, on the understanding that as part of their very expensive visit, they will be able to drink alcohol in and around the stadiums. How is it fair and reasonable that at the last minute they are told that isn’t the case now?
The fact that those in the corporate / hospitality areas at stadiums CAN still drink alcohol, makes it even more scandalous.
It is shameful to see certain pundits and journalists actually backing up the Qatar World Cup organisers on this point. Saying it is no big deal fans not able to drink alcohol at matches, surely they can go X hours without drink etc etc. Absolutely shameful that those who never have to pay for their own tickets, travel, food, accommodation and…drinks, think that it is fair game to mock ordinary people who have saved up and spent fortunes to come to this tournament and are now not getting what they paid to have access to.
Imagine if they (pundits, journalists etc) went on holiday to say some all inclusive remote place, then when they got there were told they couldn’t have alcohol during their stay. Or that the venue had decided to only serve them vegetarian food instead of the advertised steaks / seafood etc?
If from the start, fans knew before booking up that no alcohol at stadiums was the deal, then that is completely different. You can’t though just change things at the last minute after people have paid their money.
As for all the rest, the more serious stuff the FIFA boss has came out with…it is an absolute (unfunny) joke.
Interesting that on 17 January 2022, Swiss Info reported:
‘An investigation published by the SonntagsBlick newspaper confirmed that Infantino had rented a house in Doha and that two of his children are going to school there. The FIFA chief has been living in Doha since October 2021, the paper said.
FIFA, world football’s governing body, has always denied rumours of Infantino’s move to Qatar but was forced to admit it was the case following the SonntagsBlick investigation. The organisation claims that its president continues to work at its headquarters in Zurich and pay taxes in Switzerland. It told SonntagsBlick that Infantino spends half of his working time in Doha and that the house in the Qatari capital allows him to spend a lot of time with his family. However, according to SonntagsBlick, employees have confirmed that Infantino is rarely present in Zurich.’
You thought that surely things must improve after getting rid, eventually, of Sepp Blatter…possibly not.
To make it an even bigger joke, only on Friday it was reported that Gianni Infantino is now going to be re-elected unopposed for a third term as FIFA President.
Yes, it is impossible to imagine how anyone could do a better job!!!