Gary Neville has hit back at critics who slammed him for working for Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports during the 2022 World Cup.
The former Manchester United defender has also claimed that past players have been unfairly targeted by people.
Whilst working as a pundit on ITV, Neville said: “I don't feel conflicted. I've been coming over to the Middle East for 20 years and to South East Asia. I've had business and commercial relationships with these parts for a long, long time. The fact FIFA has awarded a World Cup has come under intense scrutiny, and I accept that position. I'm there to be shot at and people have criticised me heavily.
“People have criticised our colleagues on the BBC for coming over here but the reality of it is, my view on it quite simply is I detest human rights abuses, I hate the idea of not paying people enough money, people working in poor conditions, the idea of people not having good living conditions.
“The fact that women's rights aren't adhered to and human rights abuses, I can't stand it. I also have relationships in this part of the world and have done for many years, those relationships are long-standing, long-standing in the UK. If you think we buy most of our energy from the Middle East, they own our banks, and the Royal Family both have relationships sporting and charitable.”
"Can you not enjoy a sporting tournament and come over here and challenge the system over here but also bring football to different parts of the world?" 🗣— ITV Football (@itvfootball) November 21, 2022
🔊 Get the sound on as @GNev2 discusses the World Cup in Qatar #ITVFootball | #FifaWorldCup pic.twitter.com/M3FO6uM32q
The pundit added: “If you think that our government, our political parties have with the Middle East, they own Heathrow Airport, stock exchange, the fact is, football has brought scrutiny and football tournaments have brought scrutiny on this part of the world and the challenges that exist in this part of the world, and these things happen.
“I’m happy for football to front that up. 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.”
Neville continued: “I will continue coming to this part of the world and continue to keep going to South East Asia. Things like our energy sector, our airforce, our banks, and our political parties, they seem to want to shy away from their relationships with this part of the world, but football will get scrutiny and be the one penalised.
“I, personally, have been hammered over the last couple of weeks and that's fine but I'm happy to stand up and debate it because I think there's a serious conversation to be had about where competitions should be held. I believe they should be held in the Middle East.”
Featured Image Credit: ITV/Alamy
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