FIFA's Gianni Infantino: 'I know what it means to be discriminated against'

FIFA president Gianni Infantino held an extraordinary press conference in Doha on the eve of the World Cup.

He unleashed an hour-long diatribe before taking questions for a further 40 minutes.

Here are some of the areas Infantino covered.

HIS OWN EXPERIENCE OF DISCRIMINATION

"Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arabic. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel (like) a migrant worker.

"Of course, I am not Qatari, I am not Arab, I am not African, I am not gay or disabled, but I feel like it because I know what it means to be discriminated (against), to be bullied, as a foreigner in a foreign country. As a child I was bullied because I had red hair and freckles, plus I was Italian, so imagine…"

EUROPEAN HYPOCRISY TOWARDS QATAR ON MIGRANT AND LGBTQ+ RIGHTS

"We have been told many, many lessons from some Europeans, from the western world. I am European. I think for what we Europeans have been doing the last 3,000 years, we should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons to people.

"You know when women were granted the right to vote in the last Swiss canton? The 1990s. Not the 1890s. And not because the men voted for it, they voted no. It was the Swiss Supreme Court who forced this canton to give women the right to vote. This was the mentality in Europe. Let's look at ourselves in the mirror and try to convince others by engaging.

"We in Europe, we close our borders. We don't allow practically any workers from these countries who are trying to come to work legally in our countries. We all know there are many illegal workers in our European countries, living in conditions that are not really the best.

"Those who reach Europe, or those who want to come to Europe, they have to go through very difficult journeys. Only a few survive. So if you really care about the destiny of these people - these young people - Europe can do as Qatar did. Create some channels, some legal channels, to increase the percentage of these workers to come to Europe. Give them some work. Give them some future."

SAFETY OF LGBTQ+ PEOPLE IN QATAR

"Everyone is welcome. If you are a person who says the opposite, it is not the opinion of the country and certainly not of FIFA. Everyone who comes is welcome, whatever religion, race, sex orientation, belief she or he has. This was our requirement and the Qatari state sticks to that requirement.

"You tell me 'yeah, but there is legislation (criminalising same-sex relationships)'. These laws exist in many countries. This legislation existed in Switzerland. What do you want to do about it? Do you want to stay home and criticise, say how bad are these Arabs and Muslims because it's not allowed to be publicly gay?

"If people think hammering and criticising will achieve something, it will do exactly the opposite."

ON THE 'RACISM' IN THE 'FAKE FANS' ROW

"Can someone who looks Indian not cheer for England? You know what this is? Pure racism, and we have to stop that. Because everyone in the world has the right to cheer for whoever he wants."

ON THE LACK OF WESTERN SUPPORT FOR FIFA'S EFFORTS TO RESETTLE FOOTBALLERS EVACUATED FROM AFGHANISTAN

"My feeling is they promised (to take them in) because they thought we would never get them out of the country. Once we got them out, European and North American countries closed their doors. The only country that said 'bring them here' was Albania. So Albania opened the doors to Afghani refugees, who had to run away because they were playing football."

CRITICISM OF THE DECISION TO HOLD THE WORLD CUP IN QATAR

"I am sad that we cannot focus on football. Don't criticise players, if you want to criticise me, crucify me, I am here for that.

"FIFA is not the world police. The only weapon we have is this (he said while holding a football)."

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