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What happened at the 72nd FIFA Congress in Qatar?

Human rights, the Russia-Ukraine war and biennial World Cup plans are some of the issues that surfaced in Doha.

72nd Fifa Congress 2022, Doha Qatar, 31 March 2022 [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]
Thursday’s Congress, where FIFA President Gianni Infantino gave an address, was the first in-person annual event of football’s world governing body since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic

Doha, Qatar – The 72nd FIFA Congress has taken place in Doha, the capital of Qatar, which is set to host the 2022 football World Cup.

Thursday’s Congress was the first in-person annual event of football’s world governing body since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Qatar’s human rights record
Questions and concerns over Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers took centre stage at the conference.

Norwegian Football Federation President Lise Klaveness took to the stage during the Congress and termed the awarding of the tournament to Qatar in 2010 “unacceptable”.

Meanwhile, FIFA President Gianni Infantino pointed to “the changes that have happened in this country” as a positive sign towards Qatar being awarded the World Cup.

Hassan al-Thawadi, chief of Qatar’s World Cup organising committee, said labour reforms achieved by Qatar have been “historical” and the event would leave “truly transformational social, human, economic and environmental legacies”.

Hassan Al Thawadi is the Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy
Hassan al-Thawadi, chief of Qatar’s World Cup organising committee, who said labour reforms achieved by Qatar have been ‘historical’ [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]
Biennial World Cup plans
The FIFA president also seemingly stepped back from plans of hosting a World Cup every two years.

Infantino’s ambition to make the World Cup a biennial tournament has been under fire, but at the Congress he told member nations that FIFA had not been proposing the move but rather aiming to look into its feasibility.

“FIFA has not proposed a biennial World Cup,” he said. “The majority voted in the last Congress to start feasibility for this. After feasibility, the next phase starts where we find agreements and reach a compromise.

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