The FIFA boss equated childhood bullying over red hair with racial, sexual discrimination

The FIFA boss equated childhood bullying over red hair with racial, sexual discrimination

FIFA president Gianni Infantino told reporters at a World Cup press conference that he knows he was bullied as a child because of his red hair and freckles.

“Today I feel Qatar,” Infantino said at the start of his first World Cup news conference on Saturday. “Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel migrant worker.”

Infantino later fired back at a reporter who saw him pull women away from his extraordinary announcement. “I feel like a woman,” replied the FIFA president.

“Of course, I’m not Qatari. I’m not Arab, I’m not African, I’m not gay, I’m not disabled. I’m not really a migrant worker,” he said bluntly.

“But I feel like them, because I know what discrimination means… As a child, at school, I was bullied because I had red hair, and how can you call them? Freckles. »

“So I was definitely bullied for that. Plus I was Italian, so imagine that.

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The FIFA boss described the prevalence of discrimination: “You lock yourself up, you go to your room, you cry. And then you try to make some friends, you try to talk, to engage. And you try Engage these friends with others, and others, and others.

“You don’t start blaming, fighting, insulting. You start engaging. And that’s what we have to do.”

Infantino, whose parents were migrant workers in Switzerland, has previously compared the progress made by Switzerland and Qatar in accommodating migrant workers.

Migrant workers who built Qatar’s World Cup stadium often work long hours in harsh conditions and face discrimination, wage theft and other abuses because their employers refuse to hold them accountable, the London-based rights group said. The group said in a 75-page report this month.

With files from The Associated Press

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