Doha, November 19 (QNA) - FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed his confidence that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which kicks off on Sunday, will be the best in the history of the World Cup.
In a press conference held today at Qatar National Convention Center, Infantino said that the International Federation and the State of Qatar want to present an exceptional tournament, which will make the world feel proud of football, stressing that the State of Qatar has prepared optimally for the event.
He added: "We welcome everyone to the World Cup. We would like to emphasize that Qatar welcomes everyone regardless of their race, religion, orientation or beliefs. This is the official opinion of the State of Qatar and FIFA , and fans from all over the world will live in Qatar an ideal experience.", adding that "Qatar has properly prepared to welcome everyone, and we feel the great happiness shown by those who are here from the fans to attend the World Cup." The President of the International Federation spoke about the criticisms leveled at FIFA and the State of Qatar during the last period regarding many matters, considering that these criticisms are unfair and do not contain facts, stressing that FIFA does not succumb to pressure and does not act on the criticisms practiced by some media outlets.
He continued that regarding the rights of workers, it is unfair that the world does not see the great progress and clear development that the State of Qatar has achieved in this field. It is true that it took time, just as it happened in Europe earlier. It took Switzerland, for decades to become a role model on labor rights or human rights in general. Qatar has changed many laws and regulations in order to address some of the problems related to the workers issue.
Infantino said: "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 apologizing 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 recognizes the progress made here since 2016.There have been discussions with the Director-General of the International Labor Organization directly, who also confirmed the progress that has been made regarding the workers file, and there is a monitoring system as well, as it suffices to say that a permanent office of the International Labor Organization is here in Qatar. he added.
Regarding the demands for financial compensation for the workers, Infantino said: "Qatar is a sovereign state, and a state that operates in an institutional manner, and therefore there are legal frameworks for any matter that may happen. Qatar has established a fund to support workers, and an amount of no less than USD 350 million US dollars has been allocated to workers on the form of compensation, the equation of wage differences, and all things confirm the great keenness to give workers their full rights." The President of the International Football Association (FIFA) announced the launch of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Legacy Fund, where there will be a wide scope for investment by everyone in this fund, which will be concerned with education in the world in the first place, especially the education of children in order to build a better future for peoples. He pointed out that FIFA signed an agreement with India, where there are 25 million children in the early stages of education to support them and provide an ideal educational experience. He thanked the State of Qatar for its contribution to this fund, which will also work in coordination with the International Labor Organization in order to pay great attention to workers to improve their lives.
In the press conference, FIFA President Gianni Infantino criticized the way many Western media outlets deal with the State of Qatar, pointing out that everyone is present in the State of Qatar for the success of the most prominent football event that takes place once every four years.
He said that he is sure that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be the best version, and he is proud of everyone who worked hard to make this global football event a success. He pointed out that the criticisms leveled at Qatar were unfair.
He added that the Europeans should apologize to the people before giving lessons. Many European institutions work in Qatar and make financial profits, and the criticisms leveled are unfair, and Europe is unable to provide the support Qatar provided in the workers issue.
Infantino pointed out that the conditions for workers in the State of Qatar are better than those of immigrants in Europe. He said that many international institutions have recognized that labor rights standards in the State of Qatar are similar to labor rights standards in Europe, and that "there will be a permanent headquarters for workers in the State of Qatar affiliated with the International Labor Organization, which is a great progress in this context." The FIFA president went on saying: "As FIFA president I have to focus on football, but I had to clarify many things. Let the participants in the tournament focus on football and the fans to enjoy the event that only occurs once every four years." He explained that all the decisions taken regarding the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 came in partnership between Qatar and the International Football Association (FIFA). He pointed out that many people invest more in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 than in previous editions, and that FIFA profits increased from television broadcasting during Qatar's hosting of the World Cup, as broadcasting rights for the 22nd edition of the World Cup increased by USD 200 million compared to previous tournaments.
In another context, Infantino praised the decision to raise the participating teams in the World Cup to 48 teams, starting from the next edition in the year 2026, and said that it is in the interest of football.
Infantino concluded his statements by saying that the World Cup will be the last with the participation of 32 teams, and it will be exceptional for many considerations, the most important of which is the shortening of distances, which was not present in previous editions, in addition to the fact that the playing conditions are excellent and everything will provide distinguished levels, adding that the fans that will accompany the event, a total of about one and a half million fans, will remain in the same area during the tournament period without the need to move to another city.