Football anchor Gary Lineker has called the United States “an extraordinarily racist country”, as the BBC found itself in another colossal over political statements coming from the former England striker-turned-TV presenter.
In an interview with The New Agent, Lineker renewed his criticism of current World Cup host Qatar, repeating the comments he made in his controversial and hypocritical monologue at the opening of the World Cup, before slamming the US.
“For me, it was always really more about the corruption side of it because, as I said previously, I think pretty much every country, including our own, has got issues,” he said. “And we’re off to America in four years’ time, with Canada and Mexico, but obviously America’s an extraordinarily racist country.”
He then went on to admit that the Qatar World Cup has “been a cracking tournament but that’s football; football is a wonderful sport”.
The BBC’s coverage of the tournament has been branded as “very racist”, and Lineker himself was accused of not communicating with the organisers before deciding to criticise them live on television, according to reports.
Hassan Al Thawadi, Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organising committee chief, has slammed the BBC for choosing to start its World Cup coverage with a monologue from Lineker.
A meeting between Al Thawadi and BBC commentators and broadcasters was attempted, according to emails obtained by Telegraph Sport, before the World Cup draw in April, reports revealed.
Lineker himself had previously justified the biggest football tournament being held in Russia, saying the United Kingdom should not “point fingers”.
His move on during the opening day of the World Cup brought attention to his statement back in 2018 regarding Russia’s status as host of the FIFA World Cup, in which he said that the “corrupt” United Kingdom should not judge Russia for hosting the World Cup.
Since making history in 2010 as the first Arab nation to win the bid to host the World Cup, Qatar has faced relentless backlash.
Lineker’s opening monologue for the BBC’s World Cup coverage had also prompted a tremendous amount of backlash online, spotlighting “white Western European hypocrisy.”
“Oppression and human rights abuses are acceptable so long as the people doing it look like us,” one Twitter user said, referring to Lineker’s justification of a World Cup in Russia, where violence against the LGBT-Q community is rampant.
Many have also noted Lineker’s hypocrisy all while he was sitting in the Gulf country and “taking the money”, saying if he cared this deeply about the cause, he would have refused to travel there. “The hypocrisy of the guy knows no bounds.”
Lineker’s monologue also prompted high-profile critics like Piers Morgan to condemn both him and the BBC. “Outrageously disrespectful to Qatar that the BBC didn’t broadcast the World Cup opening ceremony, and instead put out more virtue-signalling guff about how awful it is,” Morgan said on Twitter.
“If they’re that appalled, they should bring home their vast army of employees & spare us this absurd hypocrisy.”
Later on, the famous British television personality further emboldened Western hypocrisy, saying: “Britain gets 20% of its gas from Qatar. Obviously, to signal our virtue, we should tell them we don’t want it any more – right?”