Gary Lineker: BBC should have spoken up about Russia at 2018 World Cup

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Watch: Gary Lineker on “sport washing” and World Cup 2018 in Russia

By Emma Saunders
Entertainment reporter

Football presenter Gary Lineker has mentioned he and the BBC should have spoken out extra about human rights issues during the World Cup in Russia in 2018

Lineker,. who is fronting BBC protection of this year’s World Cup in Qatar, said: “I think we have been sportswashed 4 years in the past when we have been in Russia”

He. added: “I do look back 4 years and feel a bit uncomfortable”

There. have been calls for Russia to be stripped of the 2018 tournament after it annexed Crimea in 2014

Lineker. told BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show that “we didn’t speak perhaps enough about the different issues” as well as the soccer in Russia

This. time around, the BBC panel of pundits did talk about human rights issues in Qatar ahead of Sunday’s opening game

Lineker. mentioned “it was deemed the correct thing to do” to not just speak about the sport

“I. think we learned from what we probably felt was a mistake [with Russia]. I think seeking back now in hindsight, we should probably have spoken out more”

BBC. Sport mentioned it would not be commenting.

Sportswashing is when a kingdom or organisation seeks to boost its reputation by internet hosting or sponsoring a big activities event

Lineker. delivered a monologue at the begin of the BBC’s protection in Qatar this weekend, describing the event as “the most controversial World Cup in history”

He. told Media Show presenter Ros Atkins that the monologue and subsequent discussions with fellow presenters such as former England women’s player Alex Scott “was a choice by everybody in BBC Sport and these issues are all thought by means of a lot, it wasn’t just me”

BBC. pundit Alex Scott wore the OneLove armband earlier than England’s World Cup opener against Iran

He added: “Every kingdom has totally different issues and totally different developments, and there are totally different cultures and issues are seen in totally different methods. But the distinction with this one was the corruption facet of it. That was the distinction for me, and that’s why I felt it was valuable to stress it”

Allegations. of corruption, vote-swapping and links to commerce offers at the highest levels of government have surrounded Qatar’s profitable bid to host the tournament

However,. the allegations have constantly been denied by organisers and remain unproven, and Qatar was cleared by Fifa several years in the past.

There is additionally controversy about human rights issues, together with the fact that same-sex relationships and the promotion of same-sex relationships are criminalised in Qatar. Women’s rights are additionally restricted

And. there have been grave concerns about the remedy of migrant workers, with deaths on stadium constructing sites, though the numbers are disputed

Meanwhile,. the BBC has additionally been criticised in some quarters for not displaying the World Cup’s opening ceremony on Sunday

But. Lineker explained that this was the norm for any World Cup

“The. BBC constantly exhibits the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, they never ever show the opening ceremony of soccer tournaments on BBC One. It’s never been a thing, and so I think that’s the place individuals have got misled on this. They’re not a big thing. It’s like a 15-20 minute little thing that they do in the background”

A. BBC spokesperson additionally confirmed this was the case

The. former England striker additionally mentioned he would not have taken Qatari cash to do soccer punditry there

When. requested about Gary Neville’s choice to work for Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports, Lineker said: five hundred “That’s his private choice. It’s very simple to be judgmental. we’re all so judgmental these days. I wouldn’t have performed it, no, and I have not performed it

“But,. you know, it truly is his life and he has to dwell it how he desires to dwell it and make the decisions that he desires to do”

Neville. has formerly defended his work in Qatar, telling BBC Radio 5 Live’s Nihal Arthanayake: “I’m going over to the World Cup, I’m going to work on the tournament, I’m going to continue to highlight issues I think are wrong”

Ros. Atkins’ full interview with Gary Lineker can be heard on The Media Show on Radio 4 at 16:30 GMT on Wednesday, and on. BBC Sounds

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