The upcoming World Cup in Qatar has given us all plenty of reasons to be remembered and this is even before the first kick of the ball in the tournament.
Right from winning the bid via a bribe to the timeline of the tournament and it being in the middle of the season, the Cup is creating headlines for wrong reasons and wrong reasons only.
In fact, there is a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to the 2022 FIFA World Cup controversies.
Among other things like cost and climate, human rights and LGBT issues have been the most prominent points of contention among supporters, players and pundits alike.
Many who’s who of the footballing world have already spoken against the tournament and FIFA.
Leon Goretzka, Toni Kroos and Joshua Kimmich are just some of the players who have raised their voices against the Middle-East state hosting the tournament.
Pundits too have been vocal, France legend Theirry Henry and former United player Eric Cantona being two of them.
And it’s not just on an individual level.
Sportswear manufacturer Hummel recently unveiled Denmark’s jerseys wherein the logos were not clearly visible, as a form of protest against Qatar as a host and all the problems that have come with it.
Another former Manchester United player who has not been afraid to speak out is Gary Neville.
Neville shot a documentary named Countdown to Qatar, where he raised issues related to migrant workers and their treatment in the Gulf country.
“The wealth in this country and that level of accommodation for people, with the sacrifice they are making. It’s just inequality like you would not believe. It’s staggering really. This is not a home”, Neville says in the video.
In a follow-up release, named Gary Neville in Qatar, which was shot back in 2019, the former player displays visible horror at the horrific treatment of the workers who are laying the groundwork for the tournament.
So it came as a major surprise when Gary announced, via Twitter, that he would be working for Qatari-owned beIN Sports during the World Cup.
For a person who has been so vocal and upfront about the unacceptable things happening in Qatar, it feels very hypocritical to end up working under the same boss.
While Neville mentions that he will use this platform and continue to highlight the issues he has done previously, we highly doubt that.
Can you really criticise a country on one hand and get money from them on the other? Not really.
Twitter has been very critical of Neville’s move, accusing him of selling himself out for money.
As it turns out, Neville isn’t the only former United player in hot water for getting involved with the Qataris.
David Beckham recently faced flak for promoting Qatar.
Like Neville, Beckham too stood for LGBT rights but still decided to promote a country which does not officially recognize fluid genders.
Funny what money can make you do.
And when you think of it, it certainly is a shrewd strategy from Qatar.
By getting these spokespersons on their side, Qatar may just be successful in changing its image come World Cup time.
Whether that does happen or not, only time will tell.