The FIFA President, Juan Infantino, pointed out this Wednesday before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that “in Europe the World Cup is held twice a week, because the best players in the world are there”. After proposing a few weeks ago the possibility of holding a biannual World Cup, the top football leader stated that the future happens because “everyone has opportunities and dignity, and not charity.” “We have to give hope to Africans so that they do not have to cross the Mediterranean in order to have a decent life”
Infantino went to the hemicycle of the Palace of Europe accompanied by the Strasbourg Arsene Wenger, former Arsenal manager and now director of world football development at FIFA and in charge of the aforementioned project.
With a soccer ball at the beginning of his speech, Infantino said that “football is moving in a direction in which a few have everything and a large majority have nothing.”
‼️ Gianni Infantino has just defended the World Cup every two years like this: “We have to give hope to Africans so that they don’t have to cross the Mediterranean to have a decent life. We have to give them opportunities”
— Sports carousel (@carousel) January 26, 2022
“Soccer is not a mere sport, it is opportunities, it is hope, national teams, it has to do with the country, with the heart, with joy, and we cannot tell the rest of the world to give us money and good players, and watch football only on TV,” he said. In this sense, he referred to Africa, stating that “we must give them hope that they do not have to cross the Mediterranean in order to perhaps have a decent life.”
Regarding the World Cup in Qatar, he stated that “there are many things to improve, but we must recognize that there have been changes” and denied that 6,500 workers have died in stadium construction: “There have been three and there are too many.”
He highlighted the future creation of an external agency with national and international authorities and sports agencies, “to help all the victims of the world in any sporting discipline and to benefit from protection.” Thus, he said, “every girl or boy anywhere in the world has to be able to practice sport in a healthy and safe way.” “We will continue to push for this new and independent agency to be created,” he said.
Resolution against the Super League
After the intervention, the PACE approved a resolution (70 votes in favor and 10 against) in which it asks FIFA to sanction the country that hosts the World Cup if it fails to comply with certain commitments, including withdrawing the designation of the venue to give it to another country.
In particular, respect for workers’ rights, equality between women and men, protection of minor athletes, guaranteeing fundamental civil and political rights, preventing risks to human rights, access to effective remedies for human rights violations and dialogue with the authorities to solve eventual problems.
The resolution opposes the European Super League and calls for “stronger financial solidarity” between men’s and women’s football. It also invites UEFA to review the criteria used for the distribution of Champions League bonuses and reduce the coefficient established based on the performance of the club for ten years, to improve training, education and women’s football.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.