Amnesty International accuses Infantino of 'brushing aside legitimate human rights criticisms'

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Amnesty International has accused Gianni Infantino of "brushing aside legitimate human rights criticisms" following the FIFA president's extraordinary speech on Saturday.

A remarkable opening address ahead of the World Cup opener between hosts Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday saw Infantino respond on a wide range of matters, claiming he had received "almost threats" around the subject of migrant workers' rights.

Infantino was reluctant to accept criticisms on the topic from Europe, explaining: "We know there are many illegal workers in Europe, living in conditions that aren't the best.

"In Qatar, of course, there are things that still don't work, but this moral lesson-giving is one-sided, it is just hypocrisy."

Amnesty International responded to Infantino's comments, stating it is unacceptable to dismiss the "enormous price paid by migrant workers".

Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International's Head of Economic and Social Justice, said: "In brushing aside legitimate human rights criticisms, Gianni Infantino is dismissing the enormous price paid by migrant workers to make his flagship tournament possible – as well as FIFA's responsibility for it.

"Demands for equality, dignity and compensation cannot be treated as some sort of culture war – they are universal human rights that FIFA has committed to respect in its own statutes.

"If there is one tiny glimmer of hope, it is that Infantino announced that FIFA would establish a legacy fund after the World Cup.

"This cannot be mere window dressing, however. If FIFA is to salvage anything from this tournament, it must announce that it will invest a significant part of the $6billion the organisation will make from this tournament and make sure this fund is used to compensate workers and their families directly."