Carlos Queiroz has demanded Jurgen Klinsmann resign from his FIFA position after making a string of accusations about Iran's World Cup team, labelling the German's comments "a disgrace".

Iran head coach Queiroz reacted after his team were accused by Klinsmann of having "worked the referee" during the 2-0 win against Wales on Friday.

Working as a BBC pundit, Klinsmann suggested Iran getting to the match officials and pushing the boundaries of acceptability was "part of their culture".

In response, Queiroz suggested California-based Klinsmann's "outrageous remarks" stemmed from his "American/German" background.

He said Klinsmann should visit Iran's training camp to learn more about the team, but must step down from FIFA's World Cup technical study group beforehand.

Prompted about the conduct of Iran's players in the Wales game just staying on the right side of the game's laws, Klinsmann said: "That's their culture, that's their way of doing it, and that's why Carlos Queiroz, he fits really well the Iranian national team.

"He struggled in South America and failed with Colombia to qualify, and then he failed with Egypt to qualify as well, and he went back right before the World Cup and guided Iran, where he worked already for a long, long time.

"This is not by coincidence. This is just part of their culture, that's how they play it. They worked the referee. You saw the bench, always jumping up and always working the linesman and fourth referee on the sidelines, they are constantly in their ear.

"This is their culture; they make you lose your focus, make you lose your concentration and what's important to you."

Klinsmann said there could have been a "big difference with another referee" and added: "Let's say it did not play into the hands of Wales."

Queiroz responded on Saturday with a string of withering Twitter messages aimed at Klinsmann, who was a 1990 World Cup winner as a player with West Germany and later coach of Germany and the United States.

Queiroz began by saying: "Even not knowing me personally, you question my character with a typical prejudiced judgement of superiority.

"No matter how much I can respect what you did inside the pitch, those remarks about Iran culture, Iran national team and my players are a disgrace to football. Nobody can hurt our integrity if it is not at our level, of course.

"Even saying so, we would like to invite you as our guest, to come to our national team camp, socialise with Iran players and learn from them about the country, the people of Iran, the poets and art, the algebra, all the millennial Persian culture…

"And also listen from our players how much they love and respect football. As American/German, we understand your no support. No problem. And despite your outrageous remarks on BBC trying to undermine our efforts, sacrifices and skills, we promise you that we will not produce any judgements regarding your culture, roots and background and that you will always be welcome to our family.

"At the same time, we just want to follow with full attention what will be the decision of FIFA regarding your position as a member of Qatar 2022 technical study group.

"Because, obviously, we expect you to resign before you visit our camp."

This is former Manchester United assistant boss Queiroz's third consecutive World Cup as Iran boss. His short spells with Colombia and Egypt followed the 2018 tournament, with Queiroz leading Egypt to this year's Africa Cup of Nations final.

They were defeated in that game on penalties by Senegal, and Egypt also lost by the same method to the same opposition in a World Cup play-off, with Queiroz departing and returning to the helm with Iran in September.

Hansi Flick unequivocally dismissed the suggestion Germany lost their World Cup opener against Japan because they were distracted by the controversy surrounding the OneLove campaign.

Germany were one of several European teams planning to have their captains wear the OneLove armband to highlight discrimination and human rights abuses by World Cup host nation Qatar, where homosexuality is criminalised.

In response, FIFA threatened to apply "sporting sanctions" to the teams involved, who all subsequently backtracked on their commitment to wear the armbands.

Germany felt FIFA was attempting to "silence" them, and they responded by holding their hands over their mouths while lining up for a team photo before the match against Japan.

After they ended up losing to the Samurai Blue, some Germany critics tried to link their defeat to the idea they were distracted by their moral stance.

When Flick was asked if that was the case ahead of Sunday's pivotal clash with Spain, his response was blunt.

"No," he said followed by a long pause. "Not at all."

Flick was surprisingly attending Saturday's pre-match press conference alone.

Teams are contracted to attend the events with at least their head coach and one player, and they can be fined if they fail to adhere to those rules.

However, Germany are based in the very north of the country near Al Ruwais, meaning any player attending a press conference will be away from training for approximately three hours.

Given the crucial nature of Sunday's encounter, Flick was simply unwilling to compromise the team's preparations by allowing a player to attend, even if it means the German Football Association (DFB) potentially copping a fine.

"I came by myself to the press conference because we didn't want any player to spend almost three hours driving. We don't expect any player to drive for so long. It's a long drive," he said.

"It's a very important match, so everyone, all 26 players are important [for training], that's why we didn't want to take a player with us. They should now prepare for the training.

"I think we could have done [the press conference] in our media centre as well, that is really good, it would have been better. But we have to accept this."

Earlier on Saturday, Spain coach Luis Enrique said Germany were the team most similar to La Roja at the World Cup in terms of their style of play.

Flick concurred, and although Spain thrashed Costa Rica 7-0 on matchday one, the Germany coach chose to remain optimistic as he urged his team to be courageous at Al Bayt Stadium.

Asked about Luis Enrique's assessment, Flick added: "I can only confirm this. I think both teams, if you look at systems, it's one-to-one in each position, and this is what we tell our players, to be in position to win the duels.

"Spain, of course, is a team who have always played the 4-3-3 formation like Barcelona, regardless of their opponent. They then have clear automatic moves and we need to find a way against it, we have a plan and we hope to implement it.

"The main focus for me has been the football, I think I'm convinced about what we want to do, how we want to play football.

"[Germany's situation] could've been avoided, but we still stick to our guns because we have the quality. We can implement what we want.

"This is what it's all about, being brave, believing in our quality and going into the match like that."

Qatar World Cup stadiums were 94 per cent full for the first round of matches, according to FIFA, despite empty seats being clearly visible in almost every fixture.

There has been some confusion around the venues used for the finals, with initial reports of capacities later discovered to be inaccurate.

Lusail Stadium, which will host the final, was previously listed as an 80,000-seater arena, while Al Bayt Stadium was said to hold 60,000 people. Each of the other six stadiums were down as holding no more than 40,000.

FIFA has now clarified official capacities for the stadia, with each ground significantly bigger than previously reported.

The showpiece stadium in Lusail can allow 88,966 spectators in, with 68,895 seats at Al Khor's Al Bayt Stadium. The six supposed 40,000-seater stadiums are each also larger than first suggested.

The additional seating – presumably unsold until the capacities were finalised – would account for the large gaps in the crowds, yet FIFA is reporting the stadiums have been 94 per cent full.

The highest recorded attendance ahead of Friday's action was 88,103 in Lusail to watch Brazil beat Serbia 2-0 the previous day.

FIFA has said Welsh supporters will be permitted to display rainbow-coloured hats and flags at Friday's World Cup game against Iran, according to the Football Association of Wales (FAW).

Wales' LGBTQ+ supporters group, known as the Rainbow Wall, is being represented at the tournament in Qatar, but several fans were reportedly told to remove and discard their distinctive rainbow-coloured hats ahead of Monday's 1-1 draw with the United States.

Former Wales footballer Laura McAllister was among those told to remove her hat by what she described as "heavy-handed" security guards at the team's first World Cup game since 1958.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the FAW pledged to discuss the issue with FIFA, which has been criticised for organising the World Cup in a country which criminalises same-sex relationships. 

The FAW now says it has received assurances a repeat will not occur when Rob Page's team face Iran at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

An FAW statement read: "In response to the FAW, FIFA has confirmed that fans with Rainbow Wall bucket hats and rainbow flags will be allowed entry to the stadium for Cymru's match against Iran on Friday.

"All World Cup venues have been contacted and instructed to follow the agreed rules and regulations."

Wales were among several European teams to back down from wearing the OneLove armband – intended to promote an anti-discriminatory message – ahead of their opening World Cup fixtures.

FIFA's reported threat to apply major sporting sanctions to teams wearing the armband has provoked a furious response from European football associations, with the president of the Danish Football Union (DBU) suggesting a blanket withdrawal from the organisation on Wednesday.

Germany's players protested FIFA's decision to ban Manuel Neuer from wearing the OneLove armband by covering their mouths ahead of their World Cup opener, as the team declared: "Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice."

Germany were among several European sides to commit to wearing the armband in order to promote an anti-discriminatory message in Qatar, where same-sex relationships are criminalised.

However, the teams backed down ahead of their opening World Cup fixtures after being threatened with sporting sanctions by FIFA, which German Football Association (DFB) president Bernd Neuendorf suggested were more significant than a yellow card for the affected captains.

After taking to the pitch for their Group E meeting with Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium, Germany's players covered their mouths for the traditional pre-match photo to protest FIFA's handling of the row.

The team subsequently released a statement via social media, which read: "We wanted to use our captain's armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect.

"Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard.

"It wasn't about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn't the case. That's why this message is so important to us.

"Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position."

Germany captain Neuer was seen to have his armband checked by referee Ivan Barton Cisneros ahead of Wednesday's game.

Die Mannschaft also warmed up for the match wearing training shirts featuring rainbow-coloured trim in another apparent show of support for LGBTQ+ rights.

The Danish Football Association suggested a blanket withdrawal from FIFA as their German counterparts revealed they were threatened with significant sanctions if they wore the OneLove armband at the World Cup.

Denmark, alongside the likes of Germany and England, were among several European nations to commit to wearing the armband to promote an anti-discriminatory message in Qatar.

The decision to host the World Cup in Qatar has attracted severe criticism due to the country's stance on same-sex relationships, as well as the treatment of migrant workers.

However, the teams backed down from donning the armband ahead of their opening games at the tournament amid suggestions their captains would be booked upon kick-off.

FIFA's apparent unwillingness to permit an anti-discriminatory gesture has been met with stern opposition, and Danish Football Union (DBU) president Jesper Moller is in favour of a strong response.

"There are presidential elections in FIFA," Moller said. "There are 211 countries in FIFA and I understand that the current president [Gianni Infantino] has statements of support from 207 countries. 

"Denmark is not among those countries, and we're not going to be either.

"[Leaving FIFA] is not a decision that has been made now. We have been clear about this for a long time. We have been discussing it in the Nordic region since August. 

"I've thought it again. I imagine that there may be challenges if Denmark leaves on its own, but let us see if we cannot have a dialogue on things.

"I have to think about the question of how to restore confidence in FIFA. We must evaluate what has happened, and then we must create a strategy – also with our Nordic colleagues."

The DBU's threat comes as German Football Association (DFB) president Bernd Neuendorf suggested a yellow card was not the full extent of the sanctions FIFA had threatened to apply.

"Today, I can say here, we also got an answer from FIFA that goes exactly in this direction. That means the referee would have to react," Neuendorf said.

"FIFA has expressly stated in its letter that it reserves the right to appeal to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee in the case of such offences, in inverted commas, i.e., the wearing of the armband, which could then impose further penalties, so to speak. 

"This has been expressly confirmed in writing."

Wales football chiefs are demanding answers from FIFA after fans were told to remove and discard rainbow-coloured hats before going into the World Cup game against the United States.

The Wales team's LGBTQ+ supporters group, known as the Rainbow Wall, has representation in Qatar, and its bucket hats were being worn by a number of fans arriving at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Monday.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said it had played a part in the Rainbow Wall bucket hats being created and was "extremely disappointed" female fans were instructed to give up the items.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the FAW said: "The FAW has collated information on these alleged incidents and will be addressing this matter directly with FIFA today."

Former Wales footballer Laura McAllister was among those affected and told the BBC the security was "pretty heavy-handed", although she "snuck" her hat into the stadium.

The FAW has itself faced criticism from the Rainbow Wall group after backing down in the face of FIFA opposition to captain Gareth Bale wearing a 'OneLove' armband during the USA game.

Fearing Bale might be yellow-carded for wearing the armband, which would have been in defiance of instruction from tournament organisers, Wales opted against taking the planned stance.

The 'OneLove' gesture in Qatar was intended as a show of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, in a country where same-sex sexual activity is criminalised.

Wales were among seven European teams that had planned to field their captain in the armband before jointly electing not to do so after being made aware of possible ramifications from world governing body FIFA.

The Rainbow Wall group said that "a huge opportunity had been missed for the FAW to send a message of solidarity inclusion; not only for LGBTIQ+ people in Wales, but also for LGBTIQ+ people in Qatar who face criminalisation, surveillance, violence and fear in their own country".

In a statement, the group added: "Later in the day we were appalled to see Rainbow Wall bucket hats confiscated by security from female fans as they entered the stadium for the USA v Wales game.

"Allyship sometimes means having uncomfortable conversations and standing up for what you believe in. We hope the FAW will be able to make an alternative and meaningful show of solidarity for LGBTIQ+ people over the coming weeks in Qatar."

England and six other nations have confirmed their players will not wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup.

The move comes after FIFA threatened to book captains if they broke regulations and made their own statements on social issues, rather than following guidelines from the game’s governing body.

OneLove, which promotes "inclusion and sends a message against discrimination of any kind", has grown in significance in the build-up to the tournament in Qatar, a country in which homosexuality is illegal.

But, following extensive discussions between FIFA and an alliance of football associations – England, Wales, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands – the armband will now not be worn.

A joint statement read: "FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play.

"As national federations, we can't put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.

"We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.

"We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football, and had no response.

"Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways."

England open their World Cup campaign against Iran later on Monday.

In a separate statement, the Dutch FA (KNVB) – the OneLove campaign originated in the Netherlands - expressed its anger and disappointment at FIFA's stance.

It read: "The KNVB and the players of the Dutch national team would like to convey a positive message with OneLove and against all forms of discrimination.

"We wanted to do that at the World Cup together with England, Wales, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark.

"The UEFA working group, of which the KNVB is part, asked FIFA on September 19 to embrace the OneLove captain's armband. Today, hours before the first match, FIFA has (officially) made it clear to 

us that the captain will receive a yellow card if he wears the OneLove captain's armband.

"We deeply regret that is has not been possible to reach a reasonable solution together.

"We stand with the OneLove message and continue to carry it out, but our first priority at the World Cup is to win matches. You don't want the captain to start the match by getting a yellow card. That is why we had to decide with pain in our hearts - as a UEFA working group, the KNVB and as a team – to abandon our plan.

"As previously announced, the KNVB would have paid a possible fine for wearing the OneLove captain's armband but that FIFA would punish us for this on the field was not expected.

"This goes against the spirit of our sport which connects millions of people. In the coming period, together with the other countries involved, we will take a critical look at our relationship with FIFA."

England and six other nations have confirmed their players will not wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup.

The move comes after FIFA threatened to book captains if they broke regulations and made their own statements on social issues, rather than following guidelines from the game’s governing body.

OneLove, which promotes "inclusion and sends a message against discrimination of any kind", has grown in significance in the build-up to the tournament in Qatar, a country in which homosexuality is illegal.

But, following extensive discussions between FIFA and an alliance of football associations – England, Wales, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands – the armband will now not be worn.

A joint statement read: "FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play.

"As national federations, we can't put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.

"We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.

"We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football, and had no response.

"Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways."

England open their World Cup campaign against Iran later on Monday.

England are considering their approach to the OneLove campaign after it emerged captain Harry Kane could be booked for wearing the rainbow armband in their World Cup opener against Iran on Monday.

OneLove, which promotes 'inclusion and sends a message against discrimination of any kind', has grown in significance in the build-up to the tournament in Qatar, a country in which homosexuality is illegal.

England, along with other European nations like Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, formed an alliance with all stating their captains would wear the armband in a show of solidarity and support with the LGBTQ community.

However, FIFA attempted to wrestle back control of the narrative on Saturday by launching their own collection of armbands across a range of social issues with a different subject for each stage, including 'Save the Planet' and 'Bring the Moves'.

It also emerged they were also considering ordering referees to issue yellow cards to captains wearing the OneLove armbands as soon as matches kicked off.

It has left the Football Association (FA) in an uncomfortable position just hours before Gareth Southgate's men open their campaign at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham told Radio 4's Today programme: "We've had meetings with FIFA this morning and there are discussions that are carrying on.

"We're very keen to wear the armband, we want to do it, but we would need to consider the implications.

"Normally in these situations there'd be a fine that would get paid and we've always said we are very happy to do that – well, happy might be the wrong word but we'd be prepared to pay the fine because we think it's important to show our support for inclusion.

"If the sporting sanction threat is real, though, we'd need to look at that, take a step back and work our if there's another way to show our values."

United States coach Gregg Berhalter stressed his team are not in Qatar to focus on off-field matters, though he indicated he does not agree with the views of FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

The Qatar World Cup has been surrounded by controversy, and an hour-long monologue from Infantino at a press conference on Saturday caused further contention.

Infantino used the media gathering to accuse the Western world of hypocrisy, insisting engagement rather than ridicule was needed in order to promote change in Qatar, which has a dubious human rights record.

The FIFA president began his speech with: "Today, I feel Qatari. Today, I feel Arab. Today, I feel African. Today, I feel gay. Today, I feel disabled. Today, I feel [like] a migrant worker."

Amnesty International subsequently criticised Infantino's comments, which also drew an incredulous reaction from sections of the media in Doha and around the world.

Berhalter backed Infantino's right to express his views, but ahead of his side's opening match against Wales, suggested they are not shared by the USA's squad.

"He's the president of FIFA and expresses his opinions as he sees fit," Berhalter said in a press conference on Sunday.

"We're here to play soccer, we're here to represent the United States and we don't necessarily represent the views of Infantino.

"That's the way it goes. He has the right to express that and we have the right to our opinions."

Wales are among several teams who will defy FIFA during the tournament.

Infantino insisted on Saturday that he had assurances "everyone was welcome", but Gareth Bale will wear a OneLove armband in support of diversity and inclusion, with homosexuality illegal in Qatar.

Asked if the USA would be looking to highlight the issues surrounding the tournament and the host nation, Berhalter replied: "For us, very similar to our efforts State-side, we have this mantra of 'be the change'.

"It's starting with the individual, and understanding every individual has a right or an obligation to promote change on their own level. That's something we've focused on as a group, a federation and as a team.

"I think the campaign has been successful. We started educating the players about 18 months ago about what’s going on in Qatar – from my perspective there's been some positive things and there's still also some work to do.

"This World Cup can help bring awareness to some of that, and that's why I think we're right in line with trying to bring attention to some of the issues here."

Named captain for the tournament, Leeds United midfielder Tyler Adams shared his experience of meeting some of the migrant workers who had contributed to the building of the stadiums in Qatar.

"It was an amazing opportunity to be able to speak with some of the people that built the stadiums that we obviously have an amazing opportunity to play in," the 23-year-old said.

"It was all people who had an interest in football. They were so passionate about the stadiums, they all had a favourite, so to have a conversation with them, which games they were looking forward to, was really interesting and intriguing."

Christian Eriksen says Denmark captain Simon Kjaer will defy FIFA and wear a OneLove armband at the World Cup regardless of the consequences.

Captains of 10 European sides are expected to wear a distinctive heart-adorned armband in Qatar, promoting diversity and inclusion in a country where same-sex relationships are prohibited.

On Saturday, FIFA announced its own armbands will feature a different social campaign, including 'Save the Planet' and 'Bring the Moves', throughout each round of the tournament in the Middle East.

Eriksen confirmed Denmark will stick with the OneLove initiative as Kasper Hjulmand's side prepare for Tuesday's Group D opener against Tunisia.

"I think we as a country are wearing it, our captain will be wearing the OneLove armband and then what the consequences will be, I don't know but we'll see," said midfielder Eriksen.

"And apart from that, we are here as footballers and we are going to play football. Of course, we want to help what we can, but in the end I'm on this stage because I play football.

"That's really my focus, and it's our focus at this tournament."

Manchester United player Eriksen will appear on FIFA's global stage less than 18 months after suffering a cardiac arrest in Denmark's European Championship clash with Finland.

"I'm just happy to be back. Especially to be at the World Cup. I've been lucky to play in one or two before, but it's special," Eriksen said.

"It's a big tournament, it's very difficult to qualify. We are dreaming of something big, but in the end, we have to get there.

"In football terms, we'll take one game at a time, and we will see where we end up."

Hjulmand's side will aim to escape Group D, which also includes world champions France and Australia, though Eriksen acknowledged it will be a difficult challenge.

"We know it's a tough group. Some teams we played a lot and some teams like Tunisia, we haven't played before," he said.

"It's a World Cup, so it's fun to test ourselves against teams we haven't played before."

Denmark have beaten France twice already this year in the Nations League, and Eriksen said he did not know whether that would influence the upcoming encounter.

"Normally, France in a tournament is a different team compared to the rest of the year," he said. "We know what to do, and we look forward to it."

Cristiano Ronaldo's scathing interview on Manchester United, in which he criticised the club, senior figures and manager Erik ten Hag, remains a significant talking point in the build-up to the World Cup.

Portugal captain Ronaldo said he felt "betrayed" by United, claiming the Red Devils have made "zero progress" since Alex Ferguson departed as manager in 2013, though Eriksen showed little interest in his club-mate's comments.

He said: "No, it hasn't been any distraction for our focus on the World Cup or a personal focus. And no, I haven't spoken to him since at the club."

Captains of several leading European nations are set to defy FIFA and wear OneLove armbands at the World Cup.

The OneLove campaign which promotes "inclusion and sends a message against discrimination of any kind" has grown in significance in the build-up to the tournament in Qatar, a country in which homosexuality is illegal.

FIFA attempted to shift the narrative on Saturday - a day before the opening game between the hosts and Ecuador - by launching a collection of armbands across a range of social issues with a different subject for each stage, including 'Save the Planet' and 'Bring the Moves'.

However, the football director of the Danish Football Union Peter Moller said Denmark skipper Simon Kjaer will continue to support OneLove and claimed to have the backing of several UEFA teams.

He said: "The plan is to go on the pitch with the rainbow captain's armband.  

"The intention has always been to play with the armband that we did against Croatia and France in the Nations League. We want to play with that armband."

Moller accepted that could result in the DBU being sanctioned by FIFA, but was happy to stand by the decision, adding: "Will we get a penalty for it? I have no idea.

"We may be wiser when some of the other countries have played before us.

"Through dialogue with other federations - including England, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands - we have chosen to go in this direction."

Team manager Oliver Bierhoff says Germany have "expressed a clear position on these issues". 

He added: "We will certainly co-ordinate with the other nations again, because it is also important that there is not only one voice from Germany, but also the voices of several countries from Europe.

"And we assume that we can continue to wear the armband."

Asked why FIFA insisted on introducing their own set of armbands, president Gianni Infantino said: "We have clear regulations on armbands.

"We have engaged in campaigns on different topics, campaigns which are universal. We need to find topics that everyone can adhere to. This is an important element for us."

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."

Gianni Infantino's press conference in Doha ahead of the Qatar World Cup was scheduled to last 45 minutes.

Yet, 55 minutes had passed before FIFA president Infantino said: "Now I will move on to the World Cup."

The best part of the proceeding hour had involved a long and winding monologue from the Swiss, who targeted the hypocrisy of the western media and insisted he must take criticism, not the players and coaches, for the controversy surrounding the upcoming tournament.

Infantino also defended the Qatari state, insisting that engagement must be prioritised over possible provocation over matters such as human rights and migrant worker pay and conditions.

With questions fielded after Infantino's monologue, the press conference lasted over 90 minutes. Here are the key points.

 

The opening comments

"Today I have very strong feelings. Today, I feel Qatari. Today, I feel Arab. Today, I feel African. Today, I feel gay. Today, I feel disabled. Today, I feel a migrant worker.

"I feel all this because what I have been seeing and what I have been told, since I don't read, otherwise I will be depressed."

On migrant worker conditions

"I am a son of migrant workers, my parents were working hard in very difficult conditions, not in Qatar but in Switzerland, I remember it very well. I know the rights migrants in Switzerland had. I remember as a child how migrant workers were treated when they wanted to enter a country and look for work. 

"I remember what happened with their passports, their medical checks, with their accommodation and when I came to Doha for the first time after I was elected FIFA president I went to see some of the accommodation and I was brought back to my childhood. I said to the people in Qatar, this is not right, and the same way that Switzerland has become an example of tolerance, inclusion and rights, Qatar has made progress as well."

On European "hypocrisy"

"We know there are many illegal workers in Europe, living in conditions that aren't the best. Those who reach Europe or want to go to Europe, they have to go through a very difficult journey. Only a few survive.

"So, if you really care about the destiny of these people, these young people, then Europe could also do what Qatar did: create legal channels for at least a number or percentage of these workers, who can come to Europe, give them some work, a future, hope. In Qatar, of course, there are things that still don't work, but this moral lesson-giving is one-sided, it is just hypocrisy."

On being discriminated against personally 

"Of course, I am not Qatari, I am not Arab, I am not African, I am not gay, I am not disabled, I am not a migrant worker but I feel like them because I know what it feels to be discriminated against by a bully. As a foreigner in a foreign county, as a child at school, I was bullied at school because I had red hair and freckles. I was Italian, and didn't speak good German.

"What do you do? You lock yourself down, go to your room and cry. And then you try to make some friends, to engage, make friends. And then you try to make these friends engage with others. You don't start fighting, you start engaging and this is what we should be doing."

On "racist" reporting and "organising a World Cup, not a war"

"Help, don't divide. Try to unite. The world is divided enough. We are organising a World Cup, not a war. Where anyone can come and enjoy. Look at the city – it's beautiful, it's happy, they celebrate.

"They went to see the teams, and what happened when they did – 'well they don't look like English, they look like Indians!'. Can someone who looks Indian not cheer for England? Or Spain or Germany? You know what this is – it's racism, pure racism. Everyone in this world has a right to cheer for who they want."

On the "best World Cup in history"

"Qatar is ready and it will be the best World Cup ever. As soon as the ball rolls, people will focus on that. I think this World Cup will be an exceptional one from a football point of view. For the first time, the teams will stay in one place, and play in one place.

"They don't need to travel, spend the night and then recover. Of course, the temperature is a bit warm, but during the next days it will be perfect. Also, when the players have been playing in July, they are really tired, especially the best players who play in the Champions League. It will be an exceptional World Cup and I think we will see the best World Cup in history."

On banning alcohol in stadiums

"If this is the biggest issue we have, I will sign immediately and go to the beach until December 18. Every decision taken in this World Cup is a joint decision between Qatar and FIFA. It's discussed, debated and taken jointly. There will be fan zones where you can buy alcohol. I think if for three hours a day you cannot drink a beer you will survive.

"We tried, the late change of policy because we tried to the end to see if it's possible. It's one thing to have the designs, it's another to put them in place. Budweiser is a great partner of FIFA. A few weeks ago we were shaking hands with their CEO to continue our partnership until 2026. Partners are partners in good and bad times."

On LGBTQ+ issues

"I can confirm that everyone is welcome. If you're a person here or there that says the opposite, well it's not the opinion of the country, and it's certainly not the opinion of FIFA. This is a clear requirement, everyone has to be welcome. Whatever religion, race, sexual orientation or belief that she or he has, everyone is welcome – this is our requirement and the Qatari state sticks to this.

"Do you want to stay home and criticise, say how bad they are – these Arabs or Muslims or whatever, because it's not allowed to be publicly gay. Of course, I believe it should be allowed, but I went through a process."

On taking a tournament to... North Korea

"Tolerance starts with ourselves, we shouldn't spread aggression, we have to spread understanding. If we wanted to organise a tournament in North Korea, then I would try. I have been a few years ago, to try and organise part of the women's World Cup there. I was not successful, but I would try again."

On criticism

"Here I have to deal with other topics. If you want to criticise somebody, don't criticise the players, the coaches, let them focus on football and making their fans happy.

"If you want to criticise someone, criticise me, I am here, crucify me. Don't criticise Qatar. Criticise FIFA, criticise me. But let people enjoy this World Cup."

On FIFA uniting the world

"We are a global organisation, and we want to remain an organisation that unites the world. I am still convinced, though not sure how optimistic I still am, that this World Cup will help to open the eyes of people in the western world to the Arab world. We have to live together, but we have to understand we have different beliefs, different history and backgrounds, but we are in the same world.

"It's why you have to come here and say what you see – when you see something that is wrong, say how it can be rectified, please. So maybe, we can help everyone to understand how we can help each other a little bit better."

On Iran's place in the tournament

"Because it's not two regimes playing each other, not two ideologies, it's two football teams. It's football. If we don't have football to bring us together… You want another World War? Okay, go ahead, without me. We have to bring people together.

"In Iran there are 80 million people living. Do you think they are all bad? All monsters? I don't think so. Do we have to exclude everyone because not everyone is good or says the right thing? We'll fight and fight to bring people together, and the more we can do that, the better it will be because no one else is doing that."

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