Gianni Infantino says he didn’t ask female referees not greet the Prime Minister of Qatar

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino has stressed that he didn’t ask female referees not to greet delegates from Qatar during the last Club World Cup medal ceremony.

Recently, a video surfaced on social media showing that two female referees from Brazil – Edina Alves Batista and Neuza didn’t greet Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani during the FIFA Club World Cup medal ceremony held in Qatar. It was reported that it was the president of the football governing body that instructed the officials not to greet the Sheikh.

Recall that on Thursday, February 11, 2021, Bayern Munich defeated Mexican club, Tigres 1-0 in the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup held in Qatar.

After the match, the medal ceremony was held in the Arabian country in which the Prime Minister stood among the dignitaries on the podium. The Sheikh bumped fist with the male participants of the competition. But when the two Brazilian officials got to the FIFA president who whispered something to them as he handed their medal to them, the female referees did not greet the Sheikh.

The gesture which sparked a public outcry on social media did not go unnoticed. Some fans of the game said the female referees acted under the directive of Gianni Infantino. However, Infantino insisted that he didn’t give the female referees such a directive.

Gianni Infantino said: “Given the lies that have been spread online about what I said to the female officials during the FIFA Club World Cup final medals ceremony, I would like to issue a clarification,” he said.

“I used the opportunity to congratulate them for the great job that they performed throughout the competition.

“This was a landmark for FIFA – the first time that female officials were appointed to, and officiated at, a men’s senior FIFA competition.

“As everyone knows, I am a strong advocate of women’s rights and equal treatment of every human being. Regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or physical ability.

“FIFA’s Statutes explicitly state that FIFA is committed to respecting all internationally recognized human rights, and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights.

“Those who have been spreading false rumors should be ashamed of their actions.”

 Gianni Infantino and Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani
Gianni Infantino and Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani

Qatar will host the forthcoming FIFA World Cup in 2022 and the world has been skeptical about how the country will handle the opportunity to host the world due to how religious the country is. All Arabian countries are perceived to be known for gender inequality and Qatar intends to use football to improve the image of the country.

During the final of the last FIFA Club World Cup, FIFA decided to use two female officials to officiate the match. Gianni Infantino said the world football governing body decided to do so because “it sends an important message to the world.”

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