Former Manchester United and England right-back Gary Neville has been slammed for accepting a commentating role at the upcoming World Cup in Qatar while hosting satirical BBC show Have I Got News For You Friday night.
Neville, who was presenting the comedy quiz for the first time, seemed extremely uncomfortable as the subject of Qatar was raised amid controversy over the country’s human rights record, treatment of LGBTQIA+ fans and the death of thousands of migrant workers during the construction of stadiums.
“You know David Beckham, don’t you? He goes there, doesn’t he? How much does he get paid?” Neville was interviewed by comedian Paul Merton.
“I don’t know,” replied the former footballer. “More than me!”
Neville, who will work as a pundit for state broadcaster beIN SPORTS at the World Cup, was already squirming and the worst was yet to come for the 47-year-old.
“The elephant in the room is you commenting there. What’s the defense?” Private Eye editor Ian Hislop asked Neville.
Gary Neville called out for his Qatari hypocrisy is a great watch. pic.twitter.com/exrOgBoJFmNovember 4, 2022
“Yes, I am commenting,” replied the former United defender. “You have a choice, don’t you? I always thought that you either highlight the problems and challenges of these countries and talk about them, or you say nothing and stay at home and don’t go. And I think that we should challenge them.
But Hislop was unimpressed. “The other option is to stay home and bring the abuse to light. You don’t have to take money from the Qataris. It’s just not a very good defense,” he said. declared.
This drew applause from the audience, as did further comments from guest Richard Madeley and Hislop again, with Neville clearly uncomfortable and visibly upset by the critics.
“You have people like Robbie [Williams] go sing, which I have to say I’m very surprised considering all the comments Robbie Williams has made in the past about gay rights,” Madeley said.
“The fact that he goes there to sing is extraordinary.”