Gary Neville leaps to Qatar defence on beIN Sports and hails pushback in World Cup whataboutery

Date published: Sunday 4th December 2022 11:32 - Will Ford

Man Utd legend Gary Neville speaks at a Labour party conference

Gary Neville has talked up the ‘progression’ in Qatar as he defended the country amid mass criticism over their hosting of the World Cup.

As Qatar-funded broadcaster beIN Sports lines his pockets, Neville took centre stage on the channel to hail the pushback amid criticism over migrant-worker deaths, homophobia and further human rights issues.

Neville said: “I think there’s then an element of, 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 ex-right-back 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.

“And then a little bit the Qataris, it feels like, 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’ and ‘let’s have a look at where you’ve been and what you’ve done on your journey over the last sort of evolution of 50, 100, 200, 300 years.’

“Now we come here, we’ve got this massive scrutiny – it’s a positive scrutiny though because kefala has been abolished. We need to make sure all the businesses and companies are abiding by it – we don’t know if that’s the case yet but there are many that are and that’s a positive out of this tournament.”

“There is progression in this country because of the scrutiny of football, we’re going to keep talking about it. What I’m going to keep doing in seven or eight weeks when we’re all talking about the Premier League again in England and no one’s even thinking about Qatar, the migrant workers, and thinking about stadiums and working practices, kefala and LGBTQ rights, women’s rights.

“Maybe that’s when we should continue shining lights on things in each others’ countries when the spotlight is off. That will be really interesting to see if that happens.”

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