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FIFA president Gianni Infantino has sparked anger among fans by shockingly comparing discrimination to once having "had red hair."
The Swiss-Italian football chief was addressing journalists from across the world at a FIFA news conference in Qatar the day before the World Cup got underway. But he stunned those in attendance by immediately diving into Qatar's highly-criticised human rights record and treatment of migrant workers in bizarre fashion.
Infantino started his press conference off with some opening remarks, saying: "Today I have very strong feelings. Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel Gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel like a migrant worker.
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"We have been taught many many lessons by Europeans. I am European. I think what we Europeans have been doing around the world for the last three thousand years, we should be apologising for the next three thousand years before giving moral lessons to people."
He added: "I know what it feels to be discriminated [against]… I was bullied because I had red hair."
What do you make of Infantino's comments? Let us know in the comments section below
Football fans on Twitter were unsurprisingly left stunned at the tone deaf comparison, saying: “No way is the head of FIFA comparing being gay in an Arabic state to being ginger.”
Others commented: “Can’t believe this a real quote,” and “I knew he was going to say something stupid but my goodness.”
Another addressed the speech, tweeting: "So much to unpack but what a load of total rubbish. Does past actions of European nations absolve Qatar of any responsibility now?"
A fourth wrote: “This is gonna go down as one of the most remarkably deluded speeches of all time from Infantino. On the flip side, thank God his having freckles at school has allowed to understand what minority groups and migrant workers have been through.”
Infantino also went on to discuss disabled people, saying: “Who is actually caring about the workers? FIFA does, football does, the World Cup does & to be fair to them Qatar does as well. I was at an event a few days ago where we explained what we were doing at this WC for disabled people…
"400 journalists are here [at my press conference], that event was covered by 4 journalists. There is 1 billion disabled people in the world. Nobody cares. Nobody cares. Four journalists."
His astonishing monologue went on for over three quarters of an hour, where he stated: "Do not divide. Unite. We are organising a World Cup. We are not organising a war. Look at the city [we are in]. It's beautiful. People are here to celebrate. We want to be football people. We are not politicians."
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