(ATR) FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s tour of the host countries for the next two World Cups has moved on to Qatar.
Infantino’s first trip to the Gulf state included a visit to the Khalifa International Stadium on Thursday. It’s the first 2022 World Cup venue that he has seen first-hand. Infantino is also meeting with board members of the 2022 tournament as well as government officials before leaving on Friday.
The new FIFA boss is under pressure from human rights groups, who want him to push the Qatari government to change the country’s labor laws. An Amnesty International report released last month charged that migrant workers working on the Khalifa Stadium "have suffered systematic abuses, in some cases forced labour".
Infantino arrived in Qatar on Wednesday evening from Moscow after meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The two discussed Russia’s preparations for the 2018 World Cup and 2017 Confederations Cup. During the meeting, Infantino praised the Russian Football Union and Russia’s highest political authorities for their commitment to both events.
"What I have seen makes me very confident that we will organize the greatest event in football as the best ever in history," said Infantino.
"In 2017 and 2018 the world will look at Russia and together as a team we will make sure that all will be great."
Putin announced that he would attend the Official Draw for the Confederations Cup in Kazan on Nov. 26.
During his time in Russia, Infantino also met with Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and visited both the Luzhniki Stadium and Spartak Stadium. They are the two Moscow venues that will host games during the 2018 World Cup.
Infantino also revealed that the next World Cup could see the use of video technology to help match officials.
He says the testing of the technology, approved last month by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), will take two years to complete. Infantino says that he hopes it works so that "Russia will be the first FIFA World Cup where referees will be helped by video technology."
Written by Gerard Farek
Homepage photo: Getty Images
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