Amnesty International responds to bizarre comments by Gianni Infantino

The much-discussed speech by FIFA President Gianni Infantino on the eve of the World Cup prompted a reaction from Amnesty International, accusing the Italian of "pushing aside legitimate human rights criticism".

Amnesty International responds to bizarre comments by Gianni Infantino

The much-discussed speech by FIFA President Gianni Infantino on the eve of the World Cup prompted a reaction from Amnesty International, accusing the Italian of "pushing aside legitimate human rights criticism".

In a rambling and bizarre speech, Infantino claimed that Europeans had no right to criticize Qatar for its human rights record, likening the country's treatment of foreigners to being bullied for having red hair.

Infantino also made headlines by opening his speech when he said: "Today I have strong feelings. Today I feel Qatari, I feel Arabic, I feel African, I feel gay, I feel disabled, I feel me as a guest worker".

Just hours later, Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International's director of economic and social justice, responded to Infantino's comments.

"By brushing aside legitimate criticisms of human rights, Gianni Infantino ignores the enormous price migrant workers pay to make his flagship tournament possible - and FIFA's responsibility for it," Cockburn wrote.

"The demands for equality, dignity and redress cannot be treated as some kind of culture clash - these are universal human rights that FIFA has pledged to uphold in its own statutes."

"If there is a tiny glimmer of hope, it is Infantino's announcement that FIFA will set up a fund for the bereaved after the World Cup. But this must not be mere window dressing."

"If FIFA is to salvage anything from this tournament, they must announce that they will invest a significant portion of the $6 billion that the organization is raising from this tournament and ensure that this fund is used to directly compensate workers and used by their families."

The week leading up to the tournament was marred by controversy as Qatar failed to honor its promise to allow alcohol in stadiums during matches and a growing number of players spoke out about the country's questionable human rights record.

As the world awaits Sunday's World Cup kick-off, it remains to be seen if football can distract from the troubles off the pitch.

This article was originally published on 90min.de as Amnesty International reacted to bizarre statements by Gianni Infantino.

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