Geopolitics

“Today, I Feel Gay. Today, I Feel Disabled,” Says FIFA’s President, Who Is Neither

Gianni Infantino

Gianni Infantino.Piotr Kucza/Newspix via ZUMA Press

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Gianni Infantino. Where does one really start? The current president of FIFA is a 52-year-old Italian-Swiss who works out of an underground fortress in Zurich, where meetings are held on the third of five basement levels because his predecessor believed that “places where people make decisions should only contain indirect light.” His current country of residence is a matter of some dispute. He once handed Donald Trump a red card in the Oval Office, to use against his critics. Vladimir Putin gave him the Russian “Order of Friendship.” He’s also friends with Mohammed bin Salman. (They watched a boxing match together). He looks like Doctor Evil, which is not his fault, but it is uncanny. Infantino presides over the cartoonishly corrupt world of international soccer governance, and the most damning thing you can say about him is that he’s a natural at it.

Although Infantino was not in charge of FIFA when members voted to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, he has embraced his role as the upcoming tournament’s biggest booster. He has said that the “hard conditions” faced by migrant workers in the Gulf state—where according to The Guardian, 6,500 workers have died in the country since the bid was announced—were giving those workers “dignity and pride,” and that the death toll itself had been greatly overstated. (Qatar has said that the “mortality rate among these communities is within the expected range for the size and demographics of the population.”) Earlier this month, Infantino wrote a letter to the 32 national federations participating at the World Cup, asking them to “focus on the football,” rather than get bogged down in criticism of a country that prohibits homosexuality.

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Categories: Geopolitics, Sports

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