ITV renounce Neville after ‘grotesque’ UK vs Qatar response to Keane’s World Cup ‘stain’ claim

Will Ford
Neville angry at Man Utd

ITV insisted it did not share the views of Gary Neville after the pundit compared striking UK public sector staff with migrant workers in Qatar.

Neville launched into a rant during ITV’s coverage of the World Cup final, claiming British ministers were “demonising” public sector staff, likening conditions they face to those of the migrant labour force in Qatar.

6,500 migrants are thought to have died while contructing the stadiums and infrastructure for the World Cup and ITV were quick to distance themselves from Neville after his speech, insisting they did not endorse his views.

Addressing the human rights issues during ITV’s build-up to Sunday’s final between Argentina and France, Roy Keane said: “This World Cup is stained, that’s the bottom line.

“The football’s been great, but the football was always gonna be great because you’ve got world-class players, but it is stained.”

In response, Neville – who, lest we forget, has been paid handsomely by Qatari broadcaster beIN SPORTS this winter – was quick to highlight the issues at home.

“We should detest low pay, we should detest poor accommodation and working conditions,” said Neville.

“We can never accept that in this region or any other region – and it is just worth mentioning we’ve got a government in our country that are demonising rail workers, ambulance workers and terrifyingly nurses.

“We can’t have people being paid an absolute pittance to work, we can’t have people in accommodation that is unsavoury and disgusting.

“It shouldn’t happen here [in Qatar] … with the wealth that exists. But it shouldn’t happen with the nurses in our country either where our nurses are having to fight for an extra pound or two pounds.”

Former levelling-up secretary Simon Clarke described Neville’s comparison as “grotesque”, while former Tory party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said ITV should have “cut him off”.

He added: “People have been killed on building sites and things all over Qatar and paid a pittance, and he compares that to the UK? It’s unbelievable.

“To compare a country that demonises gay rights, executes and brings in migrant workers by the truckload and pays them a pittance to a democratic country that has the concept of human rights, rule of law and all that goes with it – he’s abused his position.”

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