Gary Neville uses World Cup final to try to turn the spotlight on to British government

Gary Neville uses ITV’s World Cup final coverage to try to turn the spotlight on to British government for ‘demonising rail and ambulance workers and terrifying nurses’, after Roy Keane said the tournament was ‘STAINED’

Gary Neville slammed the British government‘s attitude to strikes in the country in the build-up to the World Cup final. 

The showpiece tournament concludes with the final between France and Argentina after 64 games over the past four weeks in Qatar. 

There has long been controversy around the World Cup being played in the Arab state for several reasons, including its treatment of migrant workers, criminalisation of homosexuality and its poor human rights record.

Gary Neville slammed the British government on ITV's coverage ahead of the World Cup final

Gary Neville slammed the British government on ITV’s coverage ahead of the World Cup final

And during the run-up to the final, in a discussion on ITV about the tournament as a whole and the controversy which has followed it, Neville used it as an opportunity to turn the spotlight on the British government and their response to recent strikes in the country.

Over recent weeks, a wave of strikes have hit the country, with workers across the transport network, NHS and civil service taking industrial action due to ongoing rows over pay and conditions at work. 

Neville said: ‘The working system of Kafala which obviously through football the conversation has started and it’s been removed here now in Qatar but it is abhorrent and we should detest low pay, we should detest poor accommodation and working conditions.

There have been several strikes in the UK over recent weeks, including by NHS workers

There have been several strikes in the UK over recent weeks, including by NHS workers

Neville said the government had 'demonised rail and ambulance workers and terrified nurses'

Neville said the government had ‘demonised rail and ambulance workers and terrified nurses’

‘We can never accept that in this region or any other region and it is just worth mentioning we’ve got a current government in our country that are demonising rail workers, ambulance workers and terrifyingly nurses.

‘In our country we’ve got to look at workers rights but when football goes, we have to pick up on workers rights wherever it goes because people have got to be equal and treated equal. 

‘We can’t have people being paid an absolute pittance to work, we can’t have people in accommodation that is unsavoury and disgusting. It shouldn’t happen here. 

‘That shouldn’t happen here with the wealth that exists. But it shouldn’t happen with the nurses in our country either where our nurses are having to fight for an extra pound or two pounds.’

Neville’s comments come after he attracted controversy himself after agreeing to work as a pundit for BeIN Sports during the World Cup – a sports network run by the Qatari state.

Alongside his role on ITV, Neville has appeared on coverage for games on the channel.

This came despite the former Manchester United defender condemning the abhorrent ways migrant workers were treated in the Gulf country in a documentary, entitled Countdown to Qatar, which aired ahead of the tournament.

It is not known how much Neville, 47, has earned from his deal with BeIN Sports, but insiders estimated it could run into six figures.

Neville's fellow pundit Roy Keane also argued the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been 'tainted'

Neville’s fellow pundit Roy Keane also argued the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been ‘tainted’

When Qatar was awarded the tournament, there were also allegations of corruption and bribery in the bidding process.

While FIFA cleared Qatar of corruption allegations following its own investigation, it did admit there had been ‘potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals’ during the bidding process.

And as the discussion surrounding Qatar in the studio continued, Neville’s fellow pundit Roy Keane argued that despite an enjoyable four weeks of football on the pitch, the Qatar World Cup has been tainted by the controversy surrounding it.

‘This World Cup is stained,’ he told the ITV studio.

‘That’s the bottom line. The football’s been great but the football was always going to be great because you’ve got world class players but it is stained.’ 


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