The Vicious Sportwashing Debate Between Gary Lineker And Miguel Delaney

Football as a sport gives birth to many notions, ideas, discussions, or debates that help every fan out there gain a fresh perspective every time he/she watches the game.

The debates on match days are non-stop, with many legends of the game pitching in their valuable analysis.

Jamie Carragher, Gary Neville, and Roy Keane who graced the pitch in the past have now resorted to the mic, voicing their opinions on players, managers, and the fate of the game. 

It’s a complete carnival every weekend when you put on the channel and find these legends going at each other, trying to prove their point.

But in debates, sometimes the temper gets the better of the person and the situation.

Some may hold their ground and get back to the discussion politely, while some may resort to chaotic elements and call out the other person for his/her unnecessary remark.

Such an act transpired over the weekend when the Chief Football Writer for the British online newspaper, The Independent, Miguel Delaney took a dig at England’s legendary striker and BBC pundit, Gary Lineker.

Jan Åge Fjørtoft, a former Norwegian footballer, tweeted a question for Gary Lineker and Premier League royalty, Alan Shearer.

Jan asked Gary and Alan if VAR existed back in their days, would it affect their goal tally?

Gary, being his cheeky self, replied, ‘Not sure but Maradona might have had one fewer’ with a wink emoji.

Gary answered the question and the matter should have ended.

But Delaney, on the hunt for a news byte, replied to the tweet asking Gary when will he address the fact that ‘he’s’ signed for a sports washing project. 

The former English striker was first confused and inquired about who was Delaney referring.

The Independent journalist quickly mentioned, ‘Erling Haaland,’ and accused him of signing up for a sports washing project like Manchester City.

The term ‘sports washing’ has entered the arena of football since State-sponsored money entered the game.

Many have blamed and criticized English clubs for lacking spine and taking money from entities that represent Russia, UAE, Saudi Arabia etc.

Man City did it in 2008 and Newcastle United followed the same strategy in 2021.

The notion is obvious. These states want to clear their image of a nation that conducts human rights violations by giving money to English clubs and, in turn, making them profitable.

They want this image to be shattered by boosting the English economy, but many have turned a blind eye to it.

So when Delaney questioned Gary about Saudi ‘sportswashing,’ the former English international reminded Delaney that the Independent, his employer Evgeny Lebedev, is a Russian oligarch and a close aide to Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Gary insinuated Delaney should take a good hard look in the mirror before making appalling statements in public. 

There was no further statement or tweet from Delaney on this matter.

The Twitter war might have frizzled down between the two for now but if Delaney comes out of his cave and faces Gary, it will not just be words but the sound of fist bumping into Delaney.