Gary Neville couldn’t hold back leading up to the World Cup with a furious outburst towards not only those organising the World Cup, but some of the biggest names in politics too.
On Saturday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino made a few comments in a press conference which haven’t gone down very well in the media.
“Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arabic. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled.” He then proceeded to criticise Europe’s criticism of Qatar hosting the tournament labelling them ‘hypocrites’,” said Infantino, as quoted by Manchester Evening News.
Neville is currently out in Qatar as part of BeIN Sports’ punditry team, and in the build-up to the opening fixture between Qatar and Ecuador, the former England international had some strong words to say about the FIFA president.
“Some of the things he said yesterday were inappropriate and shouldn’t be said by him. He should be statesman-like, he should be bringing people together, he is the global representative of football, not answering to one or two nations which he seems to be doing yesterday,” said Neville.
Neville has rarely held back when voicing his opinions on both politics and football, and he certainly wasn’t going to stop out in Qatar. During his outburst, Neville also namedropped both Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, claiming he is “sick” of these leaders.
“He has got to rise above it. I am sick of these leaders like [Boris] Johnson, [Donald] Trump, like Infantino, like [Sepp] Blatter who don’t unite, they divide and all their language is about division,” added Neville.
It’s not been the best start to a World Cup. The controversy and politics involved has taken centre stage during what is usually the most exciting tournaments in football. Hopefully over the next few weeks we have just as many talking points focused on the pitch as we do off it.