Gianni Infantino and Fifa have failed football by botching buildup to Qatar | Jonathan Wilson

Lack of preparation time means that most competing nations will not have had the chance to try fresh faces or tacticsIf only the World Cup could be about the football. Last week, Fifa sent a letter to the football authorities of the 32 competing nations to urge them to “focus on the football” and to ensure it is not “dragged into every ideological or political battle”. Which is fine so long as you are not gay, a woman, a migrant labourer, a believer in democracy or a person with a conscience – or indeed any of the people Gianni Infantino claimed to be in his risibly hypocritical speech on Saturday.This is, of course, the same Fifa president who was at Davos earlier in the year and who last Tuesday spoke at the G20 summit in Bali, calling for a ceasefire in Ukraine for the duration of the World Cup – a laudably neutral position, providing you are unaware Ukraine has just recaptured Kherson and has momentum such that any pause in the fighting is of clear advantage to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Infantino, coincidentally, was awarded the Order of Friendship by Putin in 2019 after Russia had hosted the World Cup. How complicated these things are! Thank goodness Infantino overcame the ginger jibes to do the politics for us.

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