Football-Welsh First Minister tells Infantino to stop digging

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dated: 2022-11-20 13:33:50 .

Author: Toby Davis

DOHA (Reuters) – Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said FIFA president Gianni Infantino was in a hole and should stop digging after accusing critics of World Cup hosts Qatar of hypocrisy.

On Saturday, Infantino addressed European critics of the host country on the issues of migrant workers and LGBT rights, adding that engagement is the only way to improve human rights.

Drakeford, who is in Qatar for Wales’ first World Cup appearance since 1958, told Reuters on Sunday that Western countries should be prepared to examine their own history but that human rights were “really important”.

“Hearing these comments, I thought two things. First, I think there is a serious reason to be willing to examine our own history,” he said at an event in Doha.

“Wales is an open, inclusive nation where we really care about people’s rights. But this was not always the case. There have been times in our history when the things we did, including the things we did in other parts of the world, did not conform to the beliefs and standards we hold ourselves to today. So taking a moment to reflect on your own story is not a wasted moment.

“The second thought I had after hearing what was said was to remember Healy’s (former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis) First Law of loopholes. Some people will remember Denis Healey, the great Labor politician. And his first law about holes was when you’re in one, stop digging.”

Drakeford said he had reservations about visiting Qatar.

“The debate about coming to Qatar or not was very balanced,” he added. “There are many individuals who have chosen not to be here and feel this is the best way to make a statement about things they think are important…

“On the other side of the equation are the arguments that if a small nation manages to be on the world stage, some of us have additional obligations to be here to represent Wales and serve the rest of the world to explain to the world what Wales has to offer, but also to explain what is important to us as a modern nation.”

(Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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Football-Welsh First Minister tells Infantino to stop digging

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