BBC stand by pundit Ashley Williams for the World Cup, taking the ex-Wales captain to Qatar despite him ‘putting a coach in a headlock at a kids’ game’… as Didier Drogba and Rio Ferdinand join the Beeb’s star-studded cast
The BBC has confirmed its presenter and pundit line-up for the Qatar World Cup with Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer and Didier Drogba among their biggest names.
33 matches from the tournament, which gets underway on November 20, will be shown live on the BBC’s channels and online streaming platforms as they share coverage with ITV.
But the Corporation could face a backlash after including Ashley Williams in their team despite the former Wales captain being charged by the FA for allegedly assaulting a coach at an Under 12s match in Manchester.
Williams’ son was playing in the match and witnesses said the former Everton and Swansea centre-back entered the pitch to confront an opposition coach who’d intervened after his son had been involved in an exchange with an opponent.
The FA charged Williams with improper conduct and violent, threatening behaviour but a spokesman for the ex-footballer claimed he was acting in self-defence and would contest the charge.
The BBC has revealed its line-up of pundits and presenters for their World Cup coverage
Former Wales captain Ashley Williams is among the pundits despite being charged by the FA for allegedly assaulting a coach at an Under 12s match in Manchester
Ex-Wales captain Ashley Williams (circled, left and right) allegedly attacked an opposition coach at an Under 12s football match in Manchester as he watched his son play
Williams has appeared on the BBC’s Match of the Day 2 programme despite the FA charge
Williams has since appeared as a studio guest on the BBC’s Match of the Day shows and will form part of their coverage from Qatar when the World Cup gets underway on November 20.
He will be presenting a radio phone-in on BBC Radio Wales during the tournament. Sportsmail has approached the BBC for comment.
The BBC’s panel of experts on England and Wales games includes Ferdinand, Shearer, Micah Richards, Alex Scott, Jermaine Jenas, Williams, Ian Rush, Danny Gabbidon, Dion Dublin, Chris Sutton and Izzy Christensen.
Matches involving other nations will see analysis from Drogba, Vincent Kompany, Jurgen Klinsmann, Gilberto Silva, Pablo Zabaleta, Laura Georges and Mark Schwarzer.
Rio Ferdinand (left) and Micah Richards (right) will features as pundits on the BBC’s coverage
Coverage will be fronted by Gary Lineker, Gabby Logan, Mark Chapman and Kelly Cates.
The BBC’s live matches begin with the tournament opener between hosts Qatar and Ecuador at 4pm on November 20.
They’ll also show England’s opener against Iran at 1pm the following day and the BBC have first pick of the semi-finals and will broadcast the final on December 18 along with ITV.
More to follow.