Gianni Infantino is the president of football’s
governing body FIFA. Infantino made headlines a day before the beginning of the
World Cup and accused Western media and commentators of double standards for
criticising FIFA for hosting the World Cup in Qatar.
Listing out the problems plaguing Qatar, the FIFA
president said, “What we Europeans have been doing for the past 3,000 years we
should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before we start giving moral
lessons to people.”
“Today I feel Qatari, today I feel Arab. Today I feel
African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel a migrant worker,” the FIFA president
said. He also spoke of the discrimination he had faced as an Italian who had
moved to Switzerland.
Who is Gianni Infantino?
Gianni Infantino was born on March 23, 1970 in Brig,
Switzerland to Italian immigrant parents from Calabria and Lombardy. He went on
to study law at the University of Fribourg. He speaks Italian, Spanish, French,
German, English, Portuguese and Arabic.
In 2000, Infantino started working with UEFA in August
2000. Four years later, he was appointed Director of UEFA’s Legal Affairs and
Club Licensing Division. In 2007, he became the Deputy General Secretary of
UEFA and in 2009 the body’s secretary general. It was during his time that FIFA
introduced Financial Fair Play and improved commercial support to smaller
In 2015, when Greece introduced a new sports law in
response to acts of violence and corruption within the football’s governing
body, Infantino led the negotiations and came out in support of the Hellenic
Football Federation’s warning to Greece.
Once a member of FIFA’s Reform Committee, Infantino
became FIFA president on February 26, 2016. He will serve the post for a period
of three years. Infantino, who holds both Italian and Swiss citizenship, is the
first Italian to be FIFA president.