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19th Oct 2022

Gary Neville defends decision to work for beIN Sports during World Cup

Callum Boyle

Neville recently agreed to work for the state-owned broadcaster

Gary Neville has defended his decision to work for state-owned broadcaster beIN Sports at the World Cup in Qatar this winter.

Neville recently confirmed he would be a part of their coverage for the tournament but his announcement drew criticism from many on social media.

Qatar have been heavily criticised for multiple issues in the build up to the World Cup on it’s appalling human rights record, with the attitude towards women and gay people one of the main talking points.

The Arab state considers homosexuality to be a criminal offence and have also been called out by human rights groups for it’s treatment of migrant workers.

Neville has said that he will ‘never shy away’ from highlighting controversial topics.

Speaking to the Daily Mailhe said: “When I highlight these issues, I can do so from a position whereby if I am covering eight games on beIN in a World Cup, and those issues come up or there’s an incident outside the stadium, I will highlight them, as I will on ITV, as I will on my own channels. I will never shy away from it.”

However the pundit also defended Qatar and insisted that they receive more criticism than Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates who are also heavily involved in football through their ownership of Newcastle United and Manchester City.

“We are talking about Man City like it’s a golden ticket – they’re owned by Abu Dhabi, who have massive issues with women’s rights, worker’s rights, LGBTQ rights… exactly the same, in fact worse, than Qatar,” he added.

“Qatar have had Amnesty International and the International Labour Organisation all over them for the last 10 years because of the World Cup.

“Saudi Arabia have come into our country to own Newcastle and they’ve got terrible human rights issues over there – the journalist killed there a few years ago, for example – and people work for them in this country.

“We either decide that we collaborate with these countries, and try and impact change through football – which is what I think we should always do – or we say we’re never going to let them play sport, we’re never going to have a World Cup there, we’re never going to allow them to compete against us because they don’t have what would be as progressive rights as they should have.

“There’s no-one that I think wants workers’ rights to be better than me, there’s no-one who wants women’s rights, equality or diversity more than me, I absolutely believe in it.”

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