FIFA president Gianni Infantino has lashed out at what he described as "hypocrisy" and "racism" from countries moralising about the Qatar World Cup and claimed Europe should "apologise for the next 3,000 years" for past mistakes.
In an astonishing one-hour monologue which opened a Saturday news conference in Doha, Infantino, who will stand unopposed for reelection as FIFA president next March, took aim at critics of Qatar and FIFA by defending the treatment of migrant workers, saying LGBTQ+ people are welcome and insisting he is still in control of the tournament despite a last-minute stadium ban on alcohol.
"What is sad is that especially in the last weeks, we have been assisting in some places a real lesson of moral, of double moral [standards]," Infantino said.
"We are told to make many lessons from some Europeans, from the western world. I'm European. I think for what we Europeans have been doing for 3,000 years around the world, we should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons to people.
"How many of these European companies who earn millions and millions form Qatar or other countries in the region — billions every year — how many of them have addressed migrant-worker rights? I have the answer: none of them because if they change the legislation it means less profits.
"But we did. And FIFA generated much, much, much less than any of these companies, from Qatar.
"We see here as well many government representatives coming from Qatar. I don't have to defend Qatar in any way whatsoever, they can defend themselves. I am defending football here, and injustice.
"If there was no gas, nobody would care. But now they all come and they all want something. Who is actually caring about the workers? FIFA does. Football does, the World Cup does and to be fair to them, Qatar does as well."