Infantino: “Everyone is free to express their opinions, but football is played on the pitch”

AL-RAYYAN (QATAR), Dec. 16 (dpa/EP) –

The president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, made it clear this Friday that the decision not to allow the teams to wear the captain’s armband with the inclusive message and in favor of diversity ‘One Love’ during the World Cup in Qatar was not a matter of “to prohibit” but based on the idea that “football is played on the pitch”.

“It is not about prohibiting and not prohibiting, we have a regulation that says football is played on the field of play. Everyone is free to express their points of view and opinions as long as it is respectful, but when it comes to from the field of play you have to respect football,” Infantino said at a press conference.

The leader stressed that this position “is nothing new” and is limited to “protecting football”, also stressing that they must not forget that they are “a global organization”. “We don’t have to discriminate against anyone based on the law, the regime, the values ​​and feelings they have,” he warned.

“There are 211 soccer teams and their fans who want to come to enjoy soccer and, honestly, I believe that we are defending values, human rights, the rights of everyone in FIFA and in the World Cup,” continued Infantino, who believes that “everyone has their own problems” and that fans who watch football in stadiums or on television “just want to spend 90 minutes or whatever without having to think about anything other than enjoying a little moment of pleasure and joy or at least emotion”.

In addition, he defended Qatar, which has hosted “the best” World Cup in history. “Many people have come and discovered the Arab world, which they did not know or only knew about through the media. At the same time, the people of Qatar have welcomed many people from all over the world and the world has been able to see that their people it’s basically positive and not negative,” he said.

On the other hand, Infantino confirmed that if he is re-elected next year, as everything indicates, he could still opt for one more term until 2021 because this would theoretically be the third and last allowed by FIFA regulations since the Executive Committee considers which is in the first, since the period between 2016 and 2019 completed that of Joseph Blatter, after he was suspended for corruption.

In this sense, the president was “very grateful and proud” to the more than 200 associations that support him. “I also thank others,” said the Italian-Swiss, who also celebrated good economic health despite the pandemic. “The forecast until the end of 2026 does not even include the new Club World Cup and the marketing results should have a significant impact,” he detailed.

The leader confirmed that FIFA’s income at the end of the year would amount to 7,500 million dollars, 1,000 million more than budgeted, and a budget for the 2023-2026 cycle had been approved, with expected income of 11,000 million dollars.