According to the head of the World Trade Organization, the advantages of collaborating with FIFA to boost employment in Africa outweigh the existing debates surrounding Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup this year.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the WTO and FIFA was signed on Tuesday with the intention of increasing the involvement of cotton-producing nations in the global soccer market.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director general of the WTO, said to CNBC’s Julianna Tatelbaum in Geneva, “Maybe there have been conflicts, and we are not shying away from that.”

In light of Qatar’s handling of migrant workers involved in construction projects in advance of the FIFA World Cup competition in November, Okonjo-remarks Iweala’s come at a time when the country is coming under more scrutiny.

“No one has shut down the World Cup and declared it won’t take place,” Okonjo-Iweala continued.

Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, said to CNBC while speaking on the same panel in Geneva: “Many things have changed in Qatar thanks to the focus of football, as well.”

“I am willing to accept all criticism from anyone for anything, as long as we can have a tiny, tiny concrete and actual positive impact,” the speaker said.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will be in effect until December 2027, states that FIFA and WTO will exchange knowledge and expertise on the economic aspects of soccer and look into using soccer as a vehicle for women’s empowerment in developing nations.

Soccer’s annual economic value was estimated by Infantino and Okonjo-Iweala at $268 million.

No matter the problems, Okonjo-Iweala added, “the balance of thinking is that if we are going to have the entire world come to this place for this World Cup, and we have an opportunity to have this whole event benefit impoverished nations through trade, we will take it.” “Therefore, it’s a thoughtful choice.”

She thought the alliance could be advantageous for the “Cotton Four” countries of Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad, and Mali.

Meanwhile, Infantino declared his belief in the positive change that soccer can bring. “Take Qatar as an example, where workers’ rights and human rights are concerned. Things still need to change.

But a process has begun, and compared to previously, people are considerably better now, he said.