Gianni Infantino: FIFA World Cup provides unique opportunity to positively impact society

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the upcoming tournament in Qatar is a clear example of how football can influence long-lasting positive change

  • Mr Infantino also said the tournament provides an opportunity for the Gulf region to showcase its history and hospitality to the world

  • President Infantino was speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha

Speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum, FIFA President Gianni Infantino has emphasised the responsibility the global governing body has to positively impact society through the power of football – and praised the host nation of the next FIFA World Cup™ for the commitment it shown in this field. “We organise the FIFA World Cup but football and the World Cup is much more than that,” President Infantino told delegates gathered in Doha. “It is not just the greatest show on earth – the biggest event – it has also a big social impact and we at FIFA want to be present and shape this impact.” With five months to go until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ begins, President Infantino highlighted the progress made in the area of human rights by Qatar over the past decade, and cited the country as an example of this vision in action – highlighting the public praise issued by respected independent bodies as proof point.

Gianni Infantino, president of the Federation International Football Association (FIFA), speaks during a panel session on day two of the Qatar Economic Forum (QEF) in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. The second annual Qatar Economic Forum convenes global business leaders and heads of state to tackle some of the world's most pressing challenges, through the lens of the Middle East. Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“One of my first trips after being elected FIFA President for the first time in 2016 was to come to Qatar and to address the situation with the workers,” Mr Infantino continued. “A lot of changes have been made; the kafala system has been abolished and regulations to take care of the heat have been put in place. “It’s not me saying it, it is the International Labour Organisation, it’s the International Trade Unions, who are independent, who say this.”

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ begins on 21 November. It will be the first time the tournament has been staged in the Middle East, something President Infantino also said is a key moment in achieving the overarching FIFA vision of making football truly global – stating the tournament would be an opportunity for the entire region to open its doors to the world. “Football is of course already today a very big industry – globally over USD 200 billion output. Football has this special element of this emotional bond that means so much to so many people all over the world,” President Infantino explained.

Gianni Infantino, president of the Federation International Football Association (FIFA), during a panel session on day two of the Qatar Economic Forum (QEF) in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. The second annual Qatar Economic Forum convenes global business leaders and heads of state to tackle some of the world's most pressing challenges, through the lens of the Middle East. Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“This is the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 but it’s for the whole GCC countries and the whole Middle East as well. People who will come here will witness and learn to know a new culture and a new history. Our vision in FIFA is to make football truly global – and that’s why we welcome the fact that the FIFA World Cup is for the first time played in an Arab country, in the Arab world.” President Infantino was speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum, during a panel session titled ‘Countdown to the Greatest Show on Earth’.