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FIFA Chief: Biannual World Cup Could Save African Lives

The president of world football governing body FIFA was responsible for creating a firestorm in the media when justifying the need for a biannual World Cup tournament.

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When Gianni Infantino addressed the Council of Europe on the advantages of having a biannual World Cup tournament on Wednesday, he said it would help stop the African migrant crisis.

Asserting that hosting the World Cup more regularly would give countries outside of Europe more chances in football, he went on to argue that the African population would be more apt to stay in their own countries than to risk migration, as per Yahoo Sports.

"If we think about the rest of the world and the vast majority of Europe, then we have to think about what football brings. Football is about opportunity, about hope, about the national teams. We cannot say to the rest of world give us your money, but watch us on TV. We need to include them," he said. 

"We need to find ways to include the whole world to give hope to Africans so that they don't need to cross the Mediterranean in order to find maybe a better life but, more probably, death in the sea."

Here are six African nations that will not be participating at the 2022 FIFA World Cup: 

He later said his remarks were taken out of context following the backlash he suffered in the media. Infantino said that by having World Cups more frequently, FIFA would be able to create more jobs in Africa, which in essence would stop people from leaving and migrating to Europe, claiming it was just a "general comment".

"Given that certain remarks made by me before the Council of Europe earlier today appear to have been misinterpreted and taken out of context, I wish to clarify that, in my speech, my more general message was that everyone in a decision-making position has a responsibility to help improve the situation of people around the world," Infantino said in a statement posted to Twitter.

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"If there are more opportunities available, including in Africa, but certainly not limited to that continent, this should allow people to take these opportunities in their own countries. This was a general comment, which was not directly related to the possibility of playing a FIFA World Cup every two years."

 

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