The football pundit and former player took centre stage on beIN Sports to defend Qatar, slamming English media over its coverage of the World Cup.
Sports pundit and former footballer Gary Neville has slammed the English media’s “mass negativity” in its coverage of the Qatar World Cup, in a two-and-a-half minute-long monologue on beIN Sports.
Neville took centre stage on the sports channel and talked up the progress Qatar has made, defending the Gulf country amid mass Western criticism over its hosting of the World Cup.
He lambasted the British media for not coming to Qatar and learning about the host nation before launching mass attacks on it. Neville said his attitude to Qatar and its people had come from being in the country and talking to residents and visitors.
“[…] A lot of the English press have never been over here to this country, and it’s quite difficult once you’re over here and you get to speak to people and learn about what goes on in this region and how things work,” the 47-year-old former Manchester United defender said.
“And not understand that this is, you know, difficult to carry on criticising it when you understand it more and you’re here and you feel it on the ground. That’s definitely happened.”
Neville felt the “Qataris and maybe some of the other nations who are aligned with Qatar are just pushing back a little bit and saying ‘hang on a little bit – you’re not all bed of roses yourself’.”
“There is progression in this country because of the scrutiny of football, we’re going to keep talking about it,” he added, praising Qatar’s migrant rights reforms, which abolished the kafala system.
The British media had launched a relentless campaign against Qatar after it won the bid in 2010 to host the World Cup. The attacks intensified when the World Cup 2022 kicked off last most, which saw the BBC and other British outlets refuse to air the opening ceremony.
The BBC showed instead reports critical of the host nation, depriving its audience of a spectacular show at the Al Bayt stadium.
Instead, viewers had to listen to a dull monologue by sports presenter Gary Lineker criticising Qatar over alleged corruption and human rights abuses. Hundreds of complaints were sent to the broadcaster over the move.