There is calculation behind Infantino’s speech

Gianni Infantino hasn’t lost his mind: he knows exactly what he’s doing.Image: cornerstone

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Gianni Infantino caused a stir the day before the opening of the World Cup with an hour-long monologue. He not only received criticism for it, but also applause.

21.11.2022, 18:0521.11.2022, 18:59

Corsin Manser
Corsin Manser

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There are still three days to go before the Swiss team plays its first World Cup match. But with Gianni Infantino, a Swiss player is already in the headlines at the finals in Qatar. The speech Valais gave to the assembled world press on Saturday received a lot of attention.

At the start of his hour-long monologue, Infantino said: “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 guest worker.”

With this, the Swiss wanted to express his support for the oppressed. “I know what it means to be discriminated against. I was intimidated,” Infantino said. He was the son of guest workers and was teased as a child for his red hair.

These statements generated much criticism from the FIFA president. “You don’t know what it’s like to be gay, you don’t know what it’s like to be disabled, you don’t know what it’s like to be African,” said South African soccer journalist Melissa Reddy. Just because you had red hair and freckles doesn’t mean you can’t tell how these people would feel.

Reddy was not alone in her criticism. Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter was also hard on Infantino. “This speech was simply unworthy of a FIFA president,” the 86-year-old wrote on “Linkedin.” “Infantino, who has lived in Doha for a year, has lost all distance with Qatar.”

Infantino receives encouragement

Some people wondered on Saturday if there was a lunatic sitting at the microphone who didn’t know what he was saying. In fact, however, Infantino must have known quite well what he was doing.

Because his speech was extremely well received in much of the world. Infantino not only spoke of his feelings, but also criticized the European double standards. Thus Infantino said: “For what we Europeans have done all over the world in the last 3,000 years, we must apologize for the next 3,000 years before we preach moral sermons to others.”

Although Infantino was not sticking to the facts with this statement – 3,000 years ago the concept of Europe did not even exist – he touched a sore point. In fact, the Europeans brought much suffering to much of the world during the colonial period. To increase their wealth, they themselves used slave labor and oppression.

And so the Swiss received a lot of applause for his speech. An ESPN tweet featuring the quote received more than 120,000 likes and 25,000 retweets. Infantino’s criticism of the West also went viral on Tiktok. Infantino matches many users on the Middle East Eye channel. There he says something like: “Absolute support from Mexico”, “Thank you, absolutely correct”, “You are right. The world is made of hypocrites.”

In short: Infantino’s speech alienated many Europeans and perhaps some North Americans, and his anger is understandable. His demand that criticism of Qatar should not be allowed makes the hairs of Western journalists stand on end. The claim that Qatar will host the “best World Cup ever” is unacceptable in view of stadium construction deaths and the weather aspect.

Infantino is firmly in the saddle

But that does not interest Infantino much. Because a large part of South America, Africa and Asia, which suffered from colonialism, welcomed the FIFA President’s speech.

And for his re-election as supreme head of the world association in March 2023, he does not need the votes of the Europeans at all. If he has the support of the national associations of Asia, Africa and South America, he will surely occupy their presidential chair. The latter have a combined 110 votes, while Europe has 53.

Of course, the Swiss understood perfectly. He knows exactly how to use the levers of power. As FIFA announced last Thursday, there is exactly one candidate for the upcoming presidential election next spring. His name is Gianni Infantino.

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Video: watson

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