World Cup 2022: Gary Lineker in Qatar to ‘report, not assist’ controversial tournament

Gary Lineker says Qatar 2022 feels “very completely different” to earlier World Cups
Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport web site and app. Day-by-day TV listingsFull protection particulars

Gary Lineker says he’s in Qatar to “report, not assist” the World Cup and can focus on the problems surrounding the “tainted” tournament on air.

Lineker mentioned there was a “queasy feeling” surrounding the tournament.

“This is our job to come and report it and present individuals what it is about at residence and hopefully in a good manner,” he mentioned.

Speaking to BBC sports activities editor Dan Roan, Match of the Day presenter Lineker mentioned: “There are vital points round this World Cup, clearly with human rights points, what has occurred with the constructing of the stadiums and staff’ rights and homophobia and varied issues they’ve right here.

“I’m accustomed to it as I’ve spent most of my life in the build-up to World Cups speaking about points aside from soccer, however when the soccer begins you have a tendency to cease speaking about it. But that’s how sportswashing works so you’ve gotten to watch out.”

Qatar has been accused of sportswashing – the act of utilizing sport to enhance fame and mission a optimistic picture of a rustic – however World Cup organizers have promised openness and inclusivity.

Referring to Russia’s invasion of Crimea earlier than the final World Cup in 2018, former England captain Lineker added: “I felt we had been sportswashed in Russia. I do not assume the world stood up about what had occurred in Crimea and I embody ourselves in that .

“It did not appear to be the world objected as a lot as they’ve finished about Russia invading Ukraine. You be taught classes. This is the place the World Cup is. It’s right here and we’re right here to report the World Cup and not assist it. We will elevate the problems and speak about them.

“Whether that makes any change right here, I believe it will not, however I believe it is vital to discuss in regards to the varied points occurring, in addition to the soccer.”

Lineker, who was prime scorer at Mexico 86, arrived in Qatar on Friday and mentioned it feels “nearly surreal” with the beginning of the World Cup simply two days away, including it’s “very completely different” to earlier editions of the tournament.

Peaceful protests have been deliberate by some gamers, whereas England’s Harry Kane, Wales’ Gareth Bale and eight different captains of European groups can be sporting ‘One Love’ armbands, to promote range and inclusion in a rustic the place homosexuality is against the law.

But Lineker says gamers on the World Cup “cannot win” whether or not they select to converse out towards Qatar or not.

“It’s a fragile stability between sportswashing and attempting to make change. We will elevate the problems at hand however will it actually make a distinction?” he mentioned.

“We do not and the footballers do not get requested the place the World Cup is. Footballers can by no means win, for those who converse up and make a stand, individuals say stick to soccer.

“If you do not say something, they are saying why aren’t you talking up? And we do not essentially get this in different sports activities.

“I do know it is international but it surely’s the identical with speaking about footballers’ salaries. People all the time speak about footballers getting paid an excessive amount of however they do not speak about film stars or singers or golfers or Formula 1 drivers and I believe it is a component of those working class lads are a bit above their station. Even if it is unconscious.”

‘Lack of self-awareness’ from Fifa

Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2010, a choice which Lineker says was “unfathomable”.

The determination to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively has been dogged by accusations of widespread corruption, with two investigations launched by Swiss prosecutors and the US Department of Justice in 2015.

Qatar and Russia have all the time denied any wrongdoing, and each had been successfully cleared by Fifa’s personal investigation in 2017.

At the time, then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter supported the bid, however now says it was a “mistake” to award the World Cup to the Arab nation.

Earlier in November, Fifa wrote to all 32 competing nations telling them to “now deal with the soccer” following the controversial build-up.

“That was an actual lack of self-awareness from Fifa to say that,” mentioned Lineker. “We have all seen the documentaries now, regardless that we felt it on the time.

“Most of the individuals who had been concerned in the choice to convey the World Cup listed below are in jail or expelled from Fifa or fined or banned so everyone knows. We are caught with it however I assume we are going to try to profit from it .”

He added: “It has come at a price that should not have been paid. It’s on my thoughts after we speak about it and lift the problems, which we are going to on the tv.

“When there’s a soccer match being performed, I can be watching the soccer match however on the identical time our ideas can be with those that have misplaced their lives. How are you able to neglect that?”

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