president has Gianno Infantino backed ’s decision to perform a late U-turn and ban the sale of alcohol inside stadiums hosting matches at the .
In a bizarre speech given to the world’s media ahead of Sunday’s big kick-off, Infantino refused to criticise the host nation despite a late change of policy which has angered fans who have spent thousands of pounds to attend games.
Alcohol will now only be available in designated fan zones with FIFA forced into holding crisis talks with official partner Budweiser who agreed a £63million partnership deal with the world governing body.
Despite Qatar reneging on a long-standing agreement, Infantino refused to show any sympathy for supporters who feel they have been shortchanged.
He said: ‘Every decision we take at this World Cup is a joint decision between Qatar and FIFA.
‘I think personally if for three hours a day, you cannot drink a beer, you will survive.’
‘What we Europeans have been doing for the past 3,000 years, we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before we start giving moral lessons to people.’
Infantino also hit out at criticism of Qatar from Europe and urged the focus to remain on football ahead of Sunday’s opening game between the hosts and Ecuador.
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The game’s global governing body has been attacked for its decision to take the finals to Qatar, where the treatment of migrant workers and the rights of LGBTQ+ people have been in the spotlight.
Ahead of the opening game of the tournament on Sunday, Infantino said: ‘We have told many, many lessons from some Europeans, from the western world.
‘I think for what we Europeans have been doing the last 3,000 years we should be apologising for next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons to people.’
Infantino added: ‘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 an Arab, I am not African, I am not gay, I am not disabled. But I feel like it, because I know what it means to be discriminated, 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.
‘What do you do then? You try to engage, make friends. Don’t start accusing, fighting, insulting, you start engaging. And this is what we should be doing.’
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