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"As a gay man" - Ex-Sky Sports reporter Bryan Swanson addresses Qatar press conference

Former Sky Sports news presenter Bryan Swanson stood up in front of a room of journalists in Doha and insisted that the Qatar World Cup will be safe for gay people.

Swanson, who these days works as FIFA's director of media relations, addressed a press conference after FIFA president Gianni Infantino had launched into a robust defence of Qatar's laws, their treatment of homosexuals and migrant workers and FIFA's decision to award the country the World Cup in 2010.

"Today I have strong feelings," said Infantino.

"Today I feel Qatari, I feel Arab, I feel African, I feel gay, I feel disabled, I feel a migrant worker."

The comments were met with a short shrift by many in the audience, which moved Swanson to launch a staunch defence.

"I am sitting here as a gay man in Qatar," said the former Sky Sports News reporter.

" We have received assurances that everyone will be welcome and I believe everyone will be.

"Just because he [Infantino] is not gay, does not mean he does not care. He does. You see the public side and I see the private side. I have thought long and hard about whether I should say this. I do feel strongly about it.

"We care about everyone at Fifa. I have a number of gay colleagues. I am fully aware of the debate and fully respect people's opinions. When he says we are inclusive. He means it."

Infantino accused the West of 'hypocrisy' in their treatment and scrutiny of Qatar after it was awarded the World Cup.

"We have been taught many lessons from Europeans and the Western world. I am European. For what we have been doing for 3,000 years around the world, we should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before giving moral lessons," he said.

"If Europe really care about the destiny of these people, they can create legal channels - like Qatar did - where a number of these workers can come to Europe to work. Give them some future, some hope.

"I have difficulties understanding the criticism. We have to invest in helping these people, in education and to give them a better future and more hope. We should all educate ourselves, many things are not perfect but reform and change takes time.

"This one-sided moral lesson is just hypocrisy. I wonder why no-one recognises the progress made here since 2016.

Infantino launched into a strong defence of Qatar (Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

"It is not easy to take the critics of a decision that was made 12 years ago. Qatar is ready, it will be the best World Cup ever.

"I don't have to defend Qatar, they can defend themselves. I defend football. Qatar has made progress and I feel many other things as well.

"Of course I am not Qatari, Arab, African, gay, disabled or a migrant worker. But I feel like them because I know what it means to be discriminated and bullied as a foreigner in a foreign country."

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