Royal experts accuse Gary Neville of making a ‘desperate’ bid to justify his own decision to take cash from Doha TV channel during Qatar World Cup by taking aim at King and Prince William
- Royal experts accuses Gary Neville of making a ‘desperate’ bid to justify cash
- The former Manchester United defender is working for Qatar’s beIN SPORTS
- Pundit, 47, claimed the senior royals were hypocritical in shunning the region
The pundit, 47, appeared to take aim at the senior royals — claiming that they were hypocritical in shunning Qatar.
The former Manchester United defender, who is working for Qatari broadcaster beIN SPORTS and ITV, said that William was ‘OK’ with the ex-Qatari prime minister donating £2.5million to the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF), which was set up by the King.
He told ITV: ‘If Prince William doesn’t want to come to this tournament but he’s okay with his father taking charitable donations, that’s fine.’
‘If the political MPs don’t want to come over but are happy to take money from them in our country for their political parties that’s fine with me, but I always see it as footballers and ex-footballers coming under criticism.’
Royal biographer Angela Levin called the comparison ‘ridiculous’ and said that he is ‘probably anti-monarchy’, while royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said Neville’s attempt at defending himself ‘smacks of desperation’.
Gary Neville appeared to take aim at King Charles and Prince William last night as he tried to justify his decision to take cash from Doha’s regime to front the football tournament
The pundit, 47, who is working for broadcaster beIN SPORTS and ITV in Qatar, claimed that the senior royals such as the King were hypocritical in shunning the region
Neville has been accused of hypocrisy after taking Qatari money. But during his appearance on ITV, he said: ‘I don’t feel conflicted… in the last few weeks that’s come under huge scrutiny. I accept that position because I’m there to be shot at, and people have criticised me heavily as well as our colleagues over on the BBC who were [criticised] yesterday.
‘But the reality of it is, my view on it quite simply is that I detest workers’ rights abuses, I hate the idea of people not being paid enough money, working in poor conditions, the idea of people not having good accommodation, the women’s rights and human rights abuses. I can’t stand it.
‘But I also have relationships with people in this part of the world and have done for many many years. Those relationships are long standing in our country.
‘The fact that we buy most of our energy from the Middle East, that they own our banks, and the Royal Family have relationships with the Middle East – both sporting and charitable.
‘You think our government and political parties have relationships with the Middle East. They own London Heathrow airport, they own the London Stock Exchange. It’s football that’s brought the scrutiny.
The former Manchester United defender criticised William saying he was ‘OK’ with the former Qatari prime minister donating £2.5million to the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF)
Neville claimed England manager Gareth Southgate and his Three Lions coaching staff should wear the ‘OneLove’ rainbow armband showing support for gay people after captain Harry Kane and others were forced to back down on wearing it
Former Wales captain Laura McAllister was among female football fans who were ‘told to take off their rainbow bucket hats’ at the Qatari stadium ahead of the Dragons’ first match with the US last night
US sports journalist Grant Wahl (pictured) was initially refused entry to a World Cup match in Doha, Qatar and had security guards ‘aggressively demand’ he remove his rainbow shirt. He was told it was for his own safety
FIFA says team captains could face a booking and potential suspension if they go through with a decision to wear the OneLove rainbow armband (pictured, England captain Harry Kane). Alex Scott decided to wear it on live TV instead
BBC pundit Alex Scott wore rainbow armband for England game on live TV and declares: Boycotting Qatar World Cup is the ‘easy option’
England may have backed down but BBC presenter Alex Scott defied Fifa’s ban on the rainbow armband as she broadcast from pitchside yesterday.
It was decided at the eleventh hour that England captain Harry Kane would no longer wear the anti-discrimination and LGBT rights symbol against Iran following pressure from football’s governing body.
But BBC pundit Miss Scott took the opportunity to wear the OneLove armband pitchside yesterday at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha during the build up to the England game.
Miss Scott, a former England international with 140 caps, has been a vocal critic of Qatar’s treatment of LGBT people and the country’s human rights record.
‘And once again we reference Infantino from what he said: you are not gay, you will never understand travelling to a country where you are fearing for your life just because of your preference of who you choose to love,’ she said during the coverage of the opening game of the tournament on Sunday.
‘To keep saying that football is for everyone, that’s what he keeps feeding us with, but we sit here and it’s not [for everyone] because people have not been able to travel to watch their team and support their team out of fear.’
She insisted it would have been easy to boycott the tournament and that she went to the World Cup in Qatar because she wants to have the ‘harder conversations’.
Miss Scott said: ‘Actually I’ve had conversations saying, “I should be staying at home, I should be boycotting” and I thought long and hard about it. I think for me personally that would have been the easy option to do just that.
‘I’m here because I love my job and, when I think about it, sitting here and having the harder conversations: we’re talking about the migrant workers, LGBTQ+ community, we’re talking about women’s rights.
‘You think about four years ago, I was the first female pundit for the BBC at a World Cup. You think how far we’ve moved in four years. Let’s hope, in the next four years, we’re never having to have these conversations again.’
Former England captain Rio Ferdinand hit out at the decision of teams to not wear the rainbow armband accusing the countries of ‘folding like a pack of cards’ following a bit of pressure.
‘And football tournaments that have brought the scrutiny on issues that exist in these parts of the world.’
Ms Levin told MailOnline: ‘There’s a huge difference, I don’t think you can compare [the issues in Qatar] to Prince William and Charles taking money from Qatar for a very, very good reason.
‘It’s not like it’s being put in their pockets, it has been used in an amazing way in Scotland where people can learn a trade and really put their life in a better place.
‘I think it’s ridiculous to make a comparison like that. Neville is obviously being paid to do this work in Qatar, he’s not doing it for nothing, he’s taking money himself.
‘He is probably anti-monarchy and I think people are trying to attack from all levels and all sides because they sense an opportunity to make a public point before the coronation. It’s a very poor show.’
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said that Neville has been pilloried for working with beIN Sports, and noted that the Prince of Wales decided not to attend the World Cup.
He told MailOnline: ‘He knows this tournament is toxic and the regime’s attitudes towards women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and their treatment of migrant workers is atrocious as is the alleged corruption that got them the World Cup in the first place.
‘King Charles’s former charities raise roughly £100 million a year. Some of this almost certainly comes from individuals linked to regimes who have undesirable human rights records. When Prince of Wales he took £2.5 million from a Qatari sheikh in cash, which was certainly unconventional. It was not illegal, but it will not happen again.
‘However we have to trade with regimes of which we disapprove and we sometimes have close links with them in other fields, as the world we live in is far from ideal.
‘Allowing them to host the World Cup is an appalling decision as Gary Neville knows perfectly well.
‘Qatar is considered an ally of Britain despite its appalling human rights record. Prince William is obviously not attending, although he is the President of the FA, because of this.
‘Neville has rightly been criticised for involving himself in a tournament which should never have taken place in Qatar and for saying he “doesn’t feel conflicted”.
‘Involving the royals, when he attempts to defend himself smacks of desperation.’
Qatar has been heavily criticised over its stance on human rights, particularly its attitude towards women and gay people, in the build-up to the World Cup.
The nation, which criminalises homosexuality, has also come under heavy scrutiny from human rights groups over its treatment of migrant workers.
Neville claimed England manager Gareth Southgate and his Three Lions coaching staff should wear the ‘OneLove’ rainbow armband showing support for gay people after captain Harry Kane and others were forced to back down on wearing it.
Football’s governing body FIFA made a U-turn yesterday, suddenly insisting skippers such as Kane would receive a yellow card for wearing the band during the match – in a mockery of their supposedly equal, neutral stance in the tournament.