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Qatar: FIFA president praises 'best group stage ever', projects 5 billion World Cup global TV audience02:45

Qatar: FIFA president praises 'best group stage ever', projects 5 billion World Cup global TV audience

Qatar, Doha
December 7, 2022 at 12:49 GMT +00:00 · Published

FIFA President Gianni Infantino hailed the first round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as the 'best ever', speaking in Doha on Wednesday.

“I have seen all the matches, indeed, and put very simply and very clearly, this has been the best group stage of a FIFA World Cup ever. So, it’s very promising for the remainder of the FIFA World Cup,” he predicted.

“The matches have been of great, great quality in beautiful stadiums, we knew that already. However, as well, the public who was there was incredible. Over 51,000 on average,” Infantino continued.

The FIFA head also projected that the cumulative number of World Cup viewers worldwide could reach 5 billion.

Qatar has faced heavy criticism and boycott calls since it was awarded the World Cup in 2010, with rights groups condemning the treatment of migrant workers and the country’s stance on LGBT issues.

Authorities claimed they have introduced labour protections and other reforms. In October Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said that the situation had been dealt with in 'good faith' but calling the ongoing criticism 'slander and double standards'.

Infantino himself defended the location on the eve of the tournament, accusing Western countries of hypocrisy and claiming "I have strong feelings. Today I feel Qatari, I feel Arab, I feel African, I feel gay, I feel disabled, I feel a migrant worker."

Qatar: FIFA president praises 'best group stage ever', projects 5 billion World Cup global TV audience02:45
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FIFA President Gianni Infantino hailed the first round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as the 'best ever', speaking in Doha on Wednesday.

“I have seen all the matches, indeed, and put very simply and very clearly, this has been the best group stage of a FIFA World Cup ever. So, it’s very promising for the remainder of the FIFA World Cup,” he predicted.

“The matches have been of great, great quality in beautiful stadiums, we knew that already. However, as well, the public who was there was incredible. Over 51,000 on average,” Infantino continued.

The FIFA head also projected that the cumulative number of World Cup viewers worldwide could reach 5 billion.

Qatar has faced heavy criticism and boycott calls since it was awarded the World Cup in 2010, with rights groups condemning the treatment of migrant workers and the country’s stance on LGBT issues.

Authorities claimed they have introduced labour protections and other reforms. In October Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said that the situation had been dealt with in 'good faith' but calling the ongoing criticism 'slander and double standards'.

Infantino himself defended the location on the eve of the tournament, accusing Western countries of hypocrisy and claiming "I have strong feelings. Today I feel Qatari, I feel Arab, I feel African, I feel gay, I feel disabled, I feel a migrant worker."