FIFA president sparks outrage with his comments on how playing the World Cup every two years can stop African migrants dying in the Mediterranean Sea

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino has sparked outrage with his comments on how playing the World Cup every two years could stop African migrants dying in the Mediterranean Sea.

In a speech to European lawmakers on Wednesday, Infantino said football was being dominated by the few who “have everything” and it needed to be more global and inclusive.

“This topic is not about whether we want a World Cup every two years, but about what do we want to do for the future of our football.

“I think about the rest of the world… and the vast majority of Europe, then we have to think about what football brings.

“Football is about opportunity, about hope, about the national teams.

“We cannot say to the rest of the world give us your money, but watch us on TV. We need to include them.”

Speaking specifically about Africa, Mr Infantino added: “We need to find ways to include the whole world to give hope to Africans so that they don’t need to cross the Mediterranean in order to find maybe a better life but, more probably, death in the sea.

“We need to give opportunities, to give dignity. Not by charity but by allowing the rest of the world to participate. Maybe the World Cup every two years is not the answer. We discuss it.”

The comments from Gianni Infantino sparked outrage. Chief Executive of anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out, Tony Burnett described the comments as “completely unacceptable”.

Gianni Infantino later claimed some of his comments had been “misinterpreted”.

“I wish to clarify that, in my speech, my more general message was that everyone in a decision-making position has a responsibility to help improve the situation of people around the world,” he said.

“If there are more opportunities available, including in Africa, but certainly not limited to that continent, this should allow people to take these opportunities in their own countries. This was a general comment, which was not directly related to the possibility of playing a FIFA World Cup every two years,” he added.

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