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17th Jun 2022

Gary Neville criticised for filming David Beckham Overlap episode in Qatar

Callum Boyle

Neville travelled to Qatar to interview Beckham

Gary Neville has been criticised for filming the latest instalment of The Overlap, in which he interviews former Manchester United and England teammate David Beckham, in Qatar.

Beckham became an ambassador for Qatar ahead of this year’s World Cup last year, having previously played for Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain at the end of his career.

The former England captain’s decision to take the role provoked a backlash, with Amnesty International urging him to use the position to raise awareness of the country’s human rights record.

Preparations for the tournament have been overshadowed by a stream of concerning headlines about – amongst other things – the country’s treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ people.

Though, on the face of it, Neville’s interview with Beckham is nothing more than an innocent conversation between friends, the decision to film in Qatar has been criticised by some.

The latest episode has received strong backlash

Some of those who have watched the episode were left frustrated by the pundit’s lack of questioning on Qatar’s human rights record.

Oliver Young-Miles of the iPaper described the episode as “brazen sportswashing.”

He said: “Gary Neville’s Overlap with David Beckham was a PR exercise for Qatar & the World Cup. Brazen sportswashing. Not a single mention of the 6,500+ migrants who’ve died building stadiums or women’s/LGBTQ+ rights. Just waffle about the nice facilities & ‘spreading the game’.”

Grace Robertson echoed this, saying: “Normally they do these in some place that’s important to the guest. This one is in Qatar because… Qatar paid Beckham a lot of money to be an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup.”

Ben Allen added: “Re: Gary Neville having a jolly interview with David Beckham in Qatar you know it’s bad when even the youtube audience calls you out for dancing around human rights abuses.”

Tom Canetti said: “Gary Neville @GNev2 has always championed rights for the working class in England against the elite. Would love to see him start doing the same thing in Qatar, instead of promoting an event built on modern slavery.”

Tariq Panja of the New York Times expressed his surprise that Beckham had not been asked about his role as ambassador for the tournament, despite the interview taking place in Qatar.

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