Football news: FIFA boss Gianni Infantino wants Pele stadiums around the world, reaction

FIFA boss Gianni Infantino has left football fans around the world scratching their heads after his latest bizarre remarks.

As Brazil paid its final respects for superstar Pele, one of the greatest players to ever play the game, Infantino offered up a baffling request.

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Infantino was in the city of Santos, Brazil, to pay his final respects to the player widely considered the greatest of all time, who died at the age of 82 after losing his battle with cancer.

He attended the wake with the heads of the South American and Brazilian football confederations and said the sport’s governing body would ask all member countries to name a stadium in Pele’s honour.

“We’re going to ask every country in the world to name one of their football stadiums with the name of Pele,” Infantino told journalists at the Vila Belmiro, the stadium where the player known as “The King” first exploded onto the world stage with his exploits for his longtime club, Santos FC.

Infantino was among the first to pay homage before Pele’s open casket, which was displayed in the middle of the field at Vila Belmiro stadium.

“We’re here with great sadness,” Infantino said. “Pele is eternal. He’s a global icon of football.”

FIFA had already flown the flags of the world at half-mast Friday outside its headquarters in Zurich in honour of Pele, whom the organisation has named as the greatest player of the 20th century.

Infantino caused widespread outrage during the Qatar World Cup when he delivered bizarre comments as he attempted to defend the Gulf-nation’s human rights record.

The build-up to the tournament was dominated by concerns over Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community.

Infantino expressed his support for those communities.

“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,” he said.

“I’m not Qatari, African, gay, disabled and I’m not really a migrant worker but I know what it means to be discriminated and bullied, as a foreign in a foreign country, as a child at school I was bullied because I had red hair and freckles. I was bullied for that.

“There are 1 billion disabled people in the world … and nobody cares.”

Inevitably, Infantino was brutally mocked for his bizarre comments.

– with AFP

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