The World Cup in Qatar was a sensational loss of image

According to the Spectator, Infantino’s speech marks the beginning of the end of an era in which people pretended to believe nonsense

“Unlike many casual football fans, I continue to have an abiding interest in the inner workings of FIFA. Not because I care much about football, but because I consider myself a fine connoisseur of corruption. I don’t spend all my time studying the subject, but I am very interested in corrupted people and entities.” Thus begins the comment by Douglas Murray on Fifa and the World Cup in Qatar. Murray makes a long preamble: he talks about the Ecuadorian politician Abdalá Bucara, disheartened by his Parliament for crimes of corruption, and the Fifa official Chuck Blazer, famous for the bribes collected to manipulate the vote on the allocation of the World Cup. Blazer was so obese that he got around on a mini scooter, and was arrested on his way to his favorite restaurant in New York City by scooter.

“Only a corrupt organization like Fifa could be represented by a man fat enough to go around on a mini scooter – writes Murray. This brings me to Gianni Infantino, the current head of the organization. Everyone knows why the World Cup is played in Qatar. Because the Qataris are very rich and have given bribes to Fifa officials to host the World Cup in their statelet with an impossible climateAnd. A lot of people have complained about it, but I think it all paid off. Instead of covering up the most unpleasant aspects of Qatari society, the World Cup has highlighted them – and highlighted the existence of many people willing to say anything in exchange for a lot of money”. The leader is indeed Infantino, who could have been telling the truth: we did it for the money. Instead he responded “in a very modern way to the very modern criticisms against Qatar”, explains Murray quoting Infantino’s famous press conference: “Today I feel like a Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African…”.

According to the commentator of the Spectator, this will go down in history “as one of the moments when our age stopped pretending (…) When he said those sentences, I hoped that the closest gay man would get on stage, pull down his pants and took it literally. I also wished an immigrant would build a stadium in Infantino without offering him any compensation, with the exception of poor housing. When he falls off a scaffolding we can arrange his body in an unmarked coffin. Only then will I believe his words. The gist is that Infantino’s attempt to evade criticism was characteristically, gloriously insincere.”

Another passage from the Fifa president’s speech that Murray did not like was the one on the “pure hypocrisy” of the West: “We should apologize for the next three thousand years before giving advice to others”. Murray replies: ‘I assume this means that we Europeans have to apologize for what the ancient Greeks did? Thanks for the offer, Gianni, but I personally love the ancient Greeks. And in any case, I’ve had enough of apologizing. Not another day. Surely not another three thousand years (…). Like I said, moments like these one starts to see the end of the tunnel. The beginning of the end of an era where people continued to pretend to believe nonsense. In these moments we all get to see what the truth is. I hope football fans enjoy the World Cup. And those who like to observe global corruption can enjoy this sport played at the highest international level”.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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