FIFA's Infantino: 'I feel Qatari, Arab and gay'

STORY: "Today, I have very strong feelings," Infantino said.

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

Infantino's comments came the day before the World Cup begins in a country which has been criticized over a range of issues since it was named as host of the tournament, 12 years ago, including allegations of human rights violations and treatment of migrant workers.

Homosexuality is illegal in the conservative Muslim country, and some soccer players have raised concerns for fans travelling to the event, especially lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and women, who rights groups say Qatari laws discriminate against.

But World Cup organizers have repeatedly said that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or background, is welcome during the tournament.

The Qatar World Cup is the first to be held in a Muslim country with strict controls on alcohol, presenting challenges for the organisers of an event sponsored by a beer brand and often associated with beer-drinking fans.

FIFA said on Friday (November 18) that alcoholic beer would not be sold at stadiums, a last-minute reversal that raised questions among some supporters about Qatar's ability to deliver on promises made to fans.