FIFA President Gianni Infantino, speaking at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, provoked an international scandal, saying that holding the World Cup every two years would save migrants from Africa from death in the Mediterranean.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. His online communication with the parliamentarians was timed to coincide with the adoption of the new PACE report “Governance of Football: Business and Values”, prepared by Lord Fulks of Cumnock. According to the FIFA website, this document “clearly supports FIFA’s ongoing reform regarding the transfer system and rules for agents” (“MK-Sport” wrote about this in detail earlier ), and also supports the FIFA project to combat abuses in football.
Why is this clause needed? Because, lately, FIFA has sometimes wished for reality: this was the case, for example, in the case of reports of fans around the world supporting the holding of the World Cup every two years – the federation made such a conclusion based on online voting on its own website, for that she was later criticized.
Inspired by the invitation, Infantino spoke about the preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and how much work his organization has done to improve the situation with the protection of human rights in this country. Then the debate began, and here Signor Gianni gave out something that is not often heard even by European parliamentarians experienced in political discussions.
Speaking about the future of world football, Infantino said that it was not only about holding a World Cup every two years, but also about what can be done for the future of football around the world.
“ We are not talking about whether we want to have a World Cup every two years, but about what we want to do for the future of football. If we think about the rest of the world, and the vast majority of Europe, then we must think about what football brings. Football means opportunities, hopes, national teams. We cannot tell the rest of the world: give us your money, but watch us on TV. We need to find ways to include the whole world in this process to give hope to Africans so that they don’t have to cross the Mediterranean in search of a better life, but instead meet death at sea ,” said Infantino. And that was enough to provoke a huge scandal.
Of course, a little later, he said that he didn’t mean it at all and his words were taken out of the context of the speech. But still, the appeal to the dying people for the sake of promoting their reforms to increase FIFA’s income looks at least doubtful.
Ronan Ewain , chief executive of Football Supporters Europe, tweeted: ” How low can Infantino go? Using death in the Mediterranean to sell his megalomaniac plan is beyond words.”
Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett told the Mirror: “ FIFA is a multi-billion dollar profitable organization. They already have the funds to invest in creating and inspiring opportunities for disadvantaged people around the world. Therefore, it is completely unacceptable to suggest that the biennial World Cup, mainly created to generate additional income from FIFA, can be a solution for migrants who risk their lives, sometimes fleeing war-torn countries in search of a better life.
Burnett added: ” If FIFA is genuinely committed to fighting inequality, it should invest time and resources in philanthropic causes on the ground, and not mask what appears to be a lucrative biennial World Cup as the answer to any existing problems .”
Previously, holding the World Cup every two years was once again strongly rejected by UEFA. “No to selfish Super Leagues and extravagant World Cup proposals. But yes, yes, yes, working together to protect and strengthen our model that works in the interests of European football and society ,” said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin .
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