FIFA president, Gianni Infantino has been slammed for saying a change in Football’s calendar will help save African migrants from dying in the Mediterranean Sea. He made this remark whilst arguing that, the world cup should be played every two years. He has since made a U-turn after receiving public backlash.
“If we think about rest of world and the vast majority of Europe, then we have to think about what football brings. Football is about opportunity, about hope, about the national teams. We cannot say to the rest of world give us your money, but watch us on TV. We need to include them.” He said.
Infantino went on to say, “we need to find ways to include the whole world to give hope to Africans so that they don’t need to cross the Mediterranean in order to find maybe a better life but, more probably, death in the sea. We need to give opportunities, to give dignity. Not by charity but by allowing the rest of the world to participate. Maybe the World Cup every two years is not the answer. We discuss it.”
His comment has so far sparked outrage across African and beyond. Critics say, using a tragedy to make a case whilst diverting attention from the fact that, FIFA as a body makes so much money from the world cup is untenable.
Responding to his comment, Tony Burnett, CEO of Kick It Out also added that, “Fifa is a multibillion profit-making organisation. They already have the funds to invest in creating and inspiring opportunity for disadvantaged people around the world.”
“It is therefore completely unacceptable to suggest that a biennial World Cup, predominantly set up to drive further profits for Fifa, could be a solution for migrants who risk their lives, sometimes fleeing war-torn countries, to seek a better life.” Tony added
The chief executive of Football Supporters Europe, Ronan Evain said “How low can Infantino go? Instrumentalising death in the Mediterranean to sell his megalomaniac plan is beyond words.”
Following the outrage, Infantino came out to make a U-turn He has made a U-turn for such demeaning comment.. He said “If there are more opportunities available, including in Africa, but certainly not limited to that continent, this should allow people to take these opportunities in their own countries. This was a general comment, which was not directly related to the possibility of playing a Fifa World Cup every two years.