May 3 – FIFA president Gianni Infantino has claimed that migrant workers in Qatar, the hosts of the 2022 World Cup, gain pride from hard work.
At the global conference of the Milken Institute in Los Angeles, a conference of later-day capitalists, FIFA boss Infantino was addressing “his work to promote equality in professional sports, on and off the field, and reflect on efforts to create inclusive spaces in the industry”, before he shared an unpalatable view of migrants – this time in the context of this year’s World Cup and whether FIFA would help families of workers who died in Qatar.
“Let’s not forget one thing … when we speak about this topic, which is work, even hard work, tough work,” said Infantino, as quoted by the Associated Press. “America is a country of immigration. My parents immigrated as well from Italy to Switzerland. Not so far, but still.
“When you give work to somebody, even in hard conditions, you give him dignity and pride. It’s not charity. You don’t make charity. You don’t give something to somebody and say, ‘Stay where you are. I give you something and I feel good.’”
Last year, The Guardian reported that 6,500 migrant workers have lost their lives in World Cup construction and infrastructure work at large since 2010 when FIFA awarded the global finals to Qatar. In the past decade, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty and various international various media have documented rampant labour abuses in Qatar. Organizers and FIFA have always insisted that Qatar’s labour reforms have improved the lives of workers.
“Now 6,000 might have died in other works and so on,” said Infantino, who lives in Doha. “And of course, FIFA is not the police of the world or responsible for everything that happens around the world. But thanks to FIFA, thanks to football we have been able to address the status of all the 1.5 million workers, working in Qatar.”
It’s not the first time in recent months that the FIFA supremo has proven tone-deaf and completely out of touch.
At a Council of Europe session in January, he tackled the African migrant crisis by seemingly presenting the biennial World Cup as a solution. In a statement, Infantino later said his words had been misunderstood.
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