Football World Cup 2022: Fifa President Infantino lives within earshot of the Emir

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From: Andreas Schmid

Fifa President Gianni Infantino: Recently he lives in Qatar. © Georges Schneider/Imago

FIFA’s relationship with Qatar is getting closer and closer. President Gianni Infantino moves to the Arabian Peninsula. Sepp Blatter has even criticized this.

Doha – visiting friends. That was the official motto of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. 16 years later the World Cup takes place in Qatar. A few months before the controversial tournament, Fifa President Gianni Infantino is staying with his friends. The Swiss now lives in Qatar.

Fifa President Infantino moves to Qatar: “What the hell”

Infantino swaps the financial center of Zurich for the desert metropolis of Doha as his place of residence. Like research by the Swiss newspaper view show that the Fifa President has relocated the center of his life to Qatar. He rented a house in the Qatari capital and sent two of his daughters to school in the World Cup host country. Fifa and Infantino themselves have confirmed the reports. Both of the corresponding rumors were recently denied.

Infantino himself speaks opposite view of a “unique opportunity” and says: “The preparation and implementation of the football World Cup in Qatar are a project of outstanding importance for football and Fifa as well as for Qatar.” join Fifa”. “Even the greatest efforts are worthwhile”. The powerful FIFA boss still pays taxes in Switzerland and works regularly in Zurich, the world football association said in a statement. With the move to Doha, Infantino simply wanted to spend more time with his family.

Infantino’s predecessor, Sepp Blatter, sees the situation differently. “This is a bad development,” commented the also controversial ex-official on Twitter. “As Fifa President, did I also plan to change my place of residence? No! I would never move because of the World Cup.” England football legend Gary Lineker snapped, “What the hell?”.

World Cup award to Qatar: Fifa wants nothing to do with criticism

Infantino’s new choice of residence should not be regarded as a simple change of location. Rather, the 51-year-old is making it clear that he is very close to Qatar. Under no circumstances does Infantino want to tarnish the image of the World Cup hosts. Criticism? Undesirable. He remains silent on the allegations of corruption – which are now almost obligatory at a World Cup. There are indications that at least two votes were bought for Qatar when the World Cup was awarded. Fifa is trying to keep the issue at bay. The authorities have long since had Infantino in their sights. Special investigators from Switzerland are conducting criminal proceedings against him. Because of irregularities in the World Cup award to Qatar. It’s about abuse of office and favoritism. However, the presumption of innocence applies.

In the past, Infantino had repeatedly ducked when it came to human rights violations in the emirate. Amnesty International has been clearly criticizing the abuses in the country for years. Specifically: no freedom of the press and freedom of expression, male guardianship, banned homosexuality – and in particular bad working conditions. Seven-day week, painfully little to no pay, inhumane living conditions, deaths. Reports on the situation of migrant workers in Qatar paint a shocking picture. Fifa is silent on all of this, praising Qatar as a “fantastic host” and raving about the openness of the Qatari sheikhs.

Qatar World Cup: Infantino’s proximity to the sheikhs – advertising through football

Infantino maintains a friendly relationship with Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar. The ruler of the emirate, which is about half the size of Hesse, has been criticized for his leadership style. Bettina Gräf from the Institute for the Near and Middle East at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich described the political situation in Qatar finally as follows: “He is head of state, supreme military commander and has executive and legislative power, so no separation of powers.”

Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (left), here with Fifa President Gianni Infantino.
Bringing the 2022 World Cup to Qatar: Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (left) and Fifa President Gianni Infantino. © Mikhail Metzel/Imago

There are also serious doubts as to whether Qatar will actually implement the promised reforms, such as improving working conditions for migrant workers. “In practice, the implementation of the reform measures is incomplete,” says the Hamburg university professor and expert for the Gulf region Eckard Woertz to our editorial team. Recently there have been reports that guest workers should leave the country during the World Cup. You obviously don’t want negative PR.

Rather, Qatar, which has released glamorous image films in recent months, is hoping for positive advertising. football advertising. Gianni Infantino certainly won’t get in the way of that goal by moving to Qatar. (as)

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