On the eve of the event, FIFA President Gianni Infantino unleashed an expletive diatribe against Western critics of the World Cup in Qatar, accusing them of moral hypocrisy.
Before Sunday’s first game in Doha, during a 45-minute Q&A session with the media, Infantino gave a long monologue in which he vehemently defended Qatar’s policy on migrant workers and called those who claimed there were “paid fake fans” in Qatar racist.
This World Cup will go down in history as the first to be staged in the Middle East, and the controversy surrounding its preparations has centered on women’s rights, LGBTQ issues, migrant labor deaths, and human rights.
punishable by up to three years in prison, but the FIFA president promised that this was a tournament for everyone.
“Let me mention as well, the LGBT situation. I have been speaking about this topic with the highest leadership of the country several times, not just once. They have confirmed, and I can confirm, that everyone is welcome,” Infantino said.
“This is a clear FIFA requirement. Everyone has to be welcomed, everyone that comes to Qatar is welcome whatever religion, race, sexual orientation, belief she or he has. Everyone is welcome. This was our requirement and the Qatari state sticks to that requirement,” Infantino said.