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The Red-Haired Man

20 Nov 2022 4 minute read
FIFA President Gianni Infantino PA Images Nick Potts

Ben Wildsmith

Who amongst us could have failed to be moved by FIFA president, Gianni Infantino’s moving evocation of the oppression he suffered as a child on account of his now absent red hair?

The infant Infantino must have been a uniquely resilient character, rising as he did from degradations that were apparently comparable to the plight of the disabled, LGBTQ people in Qatar, and exploited migrant workers, to head up an organisation so respected in world affairs that the BBC strapline for his address was: ‘FIFA president condemns hypocrisy of the west.’

FIFA has spoken and west is not best, bois bach.

It is for we hypocritical westerners to examine our consciences as we arrogantly point the finger at Qatari customs to which fans must conform during the World Cup.

As Infantino explained,

‘If somebody has to go without a beer for three hours, he will survive.’

It’s a powerful moral point. Are we really unwilling to respect the deeply held religious convictions of the host nation for a mere three hours simply to satisfy our thirst for intoxication? Shame on the west!


If you’re not feeling guilty yet, then consider the lengths to which the Qataris have gone to accommodate our godless proclivities.

For a mere $950, fans can quaff away to their hearts’ content in a ‘temporary hospitality space located in the festive hospitality village within the stadium security perimeter.’

Imagine the cost of building a temporary hospitality space that is invisible to an omniscient god.

I think you’ll agree that $950 to experience such a phenomenon is more than reasonable.

Infantini’s expression betrayed the deep disappointment and embarrassment he felt that, once again, it had fallen to FIFA to lead the way as regards ethical relations between the world’s contrasting cultures.

Shoulders of giants

When the Gulf state threw its hat into the ring to host the world’s most popular winter game at the height of summer, FIFA must have been daunted by the challenge of mounting a competition that would showcase the world’s spirit of cooperation as beautifully as its predecessor in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

It takes an organisation of unique vision to look at a fabulously wealthy country with no footballing history, notable players, nor stadia and see that its ground breaking approach to employment law would allow it to become the focus of footballing dreams in record time.

Infantino, though, is standing on the shoulders of giants.

As he issued his stinging rebuke to the west, his words carried the moral legacy of predecessors such as Issa Hayatou and Sepp Blatter

So, it is not surprising that the FIFA supremo should feel moved to express his organisation’s distress at criticism from a hemisphere of the world that, frankly, has no business impugning the integrity of agreements made between themselves and the eye-wateringly wealthy Qatari state.

After all, if somebody has to refrain from being gay for a month, they will survive.

The Red-Haired Man

There was a red-haired man who had no eyes or ears.
Neither did he have any hair, so he was called red-haired theoretically.
He couldn’t speak, since he didn’t have a mouth. Neither did he have a nose.
He didn’t even have any arms or legs. He had no stomach and he had no back and he had no spine and he had no innards whatsoever. He had nothing at all!

Therefore there’s no knowing whom we are even talking about.
In fact it’s better that we don’t say any more about him.

Daniil Ivanovich Kharms (1905-1942)

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1 year ago

It’s weird, cos you don’t know why they hate you at first, cos you’re just a kid, then when you realise its because of your hair colour you keep out of the way, learn to fight, or run.
This doesn’t happen in Germany or Scandinavia, at least in my experience.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 year ago

It wasn’t your hair colour Gianni. Based on your mealy mouthed press conference, it was your personality

1 year ago

Infantino’s speech was the worst sort of ‘whataboutisms’ possible. So because the West has been guilty of colonialism and imperialism over the last few centuries, then we should be silent in regards to the deaths of migrant workers and treatment of LGBT people?

Pascal Lafargue
Pascal Lafargue
1 year ago

Very good article!

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