The criticism kept coming for the BBC‘s ‘virtue-signalling’ coverage of the World Cup kick-off on Monday ahead of England’s first match against Iran, as football fans blasted pundits ‘absurd hypocrisy’ after they launched into long tirades about controversies and human rights issue in Qatar, while broadcasting live from a stadium in Doha.
Viewers slammed Gary Lineker and Alex Scott’s ‘holier than thou’ punditry which saw an opening monologue for the BBC’s introduction to the World Cup address the human rights record in Qatar, with many taking to social media to say the pair had ‘took the money ahead of their morals’.
Others said the segment had been ‘outrageously disrespectful to Qatar’ for not broadcasting the World Cup opening ceremony, and said: ‘If they’re that appalled, they should bring home their vast army of employees & spare us this absurd hypocrisy [sic].’
Meanwhile, another viewer said that while they understood it was not their decision n ot to air the oening ceremony, they had ‘lost all respect’ for the presenters after deciding to ‘start your programme as it it was some funeral’.
BBC’s Gary Lineker addressed the human right’s issues in Qatar in his opening monologue at the start of the organisation’s coverage
Alex Scott slammed Infantino for his words and failure to commit to a compensation fund to families who have lost loved ones
Viewers slammed Gary Lineker and Alex Scott’s ‘holier than thou’ punditry which saw an opening monologue for the BBC’s introduction to the World Cup address the human rights record in Qatar, with many taking to social media to say the pair had ‘took the money ahead of their morals’
The controversial competition kicked off yesterday with the host nation facing Ecuador in Group A, with the game live on the BBC.
He had previously been criticised, along with other football commentators and journalists, for agreeing to attend and be paid for the tournament in Qatar given its deeply conservative stance on issues such as gay rights.
Alan Shearer, Alex Scott and Ashley Williams were working as pundits and also addressed Qatar’s behaviour since being handed the tournament.
The BBC showed the first live game, but opted only to show the opening ceremony, which featured disgraced actor Morgan Freeman, online.
Football fans reacted with anger to yesterday’s coverage and said they simply wanted to watch the matches, pointing out that if the presenters were so concerned over human rights issues they could simply have refused to fly there instead.
It is just one of multiple controversies to hit the tournament prior to kick-off, including a ban on alcohol in stadiums and the choice of Morgan Freeman to contribute to the opening ceremony.
One social media user said: ‘Gary Lineker on BBC News talking about the lack of human rights in Qatar. All while he’s sitting there and taking the money. The hypocrisy of the guy knows no bounds!’
Former England forward Alan Shearer (right) laid into FIFA for their awarding of the tournament, while Ashley Williams (left) added he felt there were ‘zero considerations for the human rights and the workers’ rights’ from FIFA
The World Cup in Qatar kicked off on Sunday night with an elaborate opening ceremony, followed by the first game between the hosts and Ecuador, and a large firework display
Fans watch fireworks after the World Cup inauguration match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Corniche sea promenade in Doha, Qatar
During the opening ceremony and the opening game, many seats were left empty at the Al Bayt Stadium in Doha
In excess of 6,500 migrant workers are said to have died while building Qatar’s football stations for the tournament, and homosexuality is still illegal and sometimes punishable by death.
The BBC team came under fire from those watching who complained they had tuned in to watch the football, not to hear a ‘political segment’ – and others who pointed out the team had agreed to fly out to the country and were being paid to work there.
Among those to raise criticism was Piers Morgan, who told his Twitter followers the broadcasters were ‘putting out more virtual-signalling guff’: ‘Outrageously disrespectful to Qatar that the BBC didn’t broadcast the World Cup opening ceremony, and instead put out more virtue-signalling guff about how awful it is.
‘If they’re that appalled, they should bring home their vast army of employees and spare us this absurd hypocrisy.’
One fan commented: ‘I’ve just tuned into the BBC to watch the FIFA World Cup and I appear to be getting a political broadcast.
‘Is it the same for everyone, or just my TV?’
Another fumed: ‘World Cup already a green bore fest and political advert. B****y hell.’
A third said: ‘Those BBC pundits sat around slaying the human rights of Qatar while being sat in Qatar is so bizarre.’
Lineker said at the top of the programme: ‘It’s the most controversial World Cup in recent history and a ball hasn’t even been kicked’, he said. ‘Ever since FIFA chose Qatar back in 2010, the smallest nation to host football’s greatest competition has faced some big questions.
‘From accusations of corruption in the bidding process to the treatment of migrant workers who’ve built the stadiums where many lost their lives. Homosexuality is illegal here and women’s rights are also in the spotlight. Also the decision to switch the tournament from summer to winter.
‘Against that back drop, there is a tournament to be played here that will be watched and enjoyed around the world. Stick to football say FIFA, well we will for a couple of minutes at least.’
Shearer in particular was critical of the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar: ‘Every country has its own issues including our own country, and I’m not saying we’re perfect, we’re far from it, but we were there in 2010 and we were as surprised as anyone was.
‘First of all it was announced it was a winter World Cup, air conditioned stadiums, air conditioned fan fests and all that stuff. Three months later it is announced the first game of the World Cup is moved to today and 11 of those 22 members that had that vote for FIFA have either been sanctioned, fined or banned for life.
‘Mohammed bin Hammam from Qatar, who was the chairman of the Asian football association has been banned for life, even Sepp Blatter has recently said it was a mistake, so that’s where we are with this World Cup.’
Williams then honed in on FIFA, adding: ‘I think when they awarded Qatar the tournament there were zero considerations for the human rights and the workers’ rights and there were no considerations put in place for the building of the stadiums.
‘It’s been 10 years before we’ve seen any changes in that to improving working conditions and labour laws. The only positive is that this international tension has led to some reform. I think it only becomes sportswashing when we don’t talk about it.’
But football fans did not all agree with the BBC presenters’ stance, despite the high-profile human rights abuses which are ongoing in the host nation.
There was outrage directed towards Sunday’s commentary team as social media users accused them of ‘sitting there getting paid plenty’ to be in Qatar.
Qatar has faced a barrage of criticism over its treatment of foreign workers, LGBT+ rights and social restrictions, staking its reputation on delivering a smooth tournament. The country has denied accusations of abuse of workers and discrimination.
In the UK, it is not just those within the BBC who have faced accusations of hypocrisy.
Former England star David Beckham has been the face of this year’s tournament, reportedly signing a £10 million deal with the hosts to promote the nation.
Beckham, who was one of the first footballers to ever be photographed by LGBT+ magazines, has been known as something of a ‘gay icon’ within the world of football after previously speaking out about LGBT+ rights.
But he was slammed by many after his deal with the country emerged due to its strict laws criminalising homosexuality, which is technically still punishable by death in Qatar.
On Sunday afternoon, pansexual comedian Joe Lycett appeared to shred £10,000 of his own money after challenging Beckham to end his relationship with the country.
Had Beckham chosen to do so, Mr Lycett pledged to donate the money to charities which support LGBT+ people within football.
Empty seats could be seen within the Al Bayt Stadium during the ceremony, but after Ecuador vs Qatar kicked off at 7pm local time, the stadium appeared to have filled with fans. However, empty sections were later seen returning in the second half of the match, which saw the hosts beaten 2-0.
In another controversy, Qatar banned the sale of beer in stadiums on Friday in a stunning about-face, meaning many of Doha’s bars and nightclubs – one of the rare places fans can get alcohol – were packed with crowds and had their tables fully booked on Sunday as the tournament kicked off.
And in a final row some criticised the decision to open the tournament with an appearance from Michael Freeman, who narrated the event’s opening segment titled ‘The Calling’.
Freeman spoke with 20-year-old Qatari entrepreneur and influencer Ghanim al Muftah – a FIFA World Cup Ambassador who was born with Caudal Regression Syndrome, a rare disorder which impairs the development of the lower spine – who said to the actor: ‘Come on over.’
When Freeman replied ‘I’m not sure, Am I welcome?’, al Muftah said: ‘We sent out the call because everyone is welcome. This is an invitation to the whole world.’
Freeman replied: ‘I remember, even after hearing the call, instead of seeing another way, we dismissed it and demanded our own way. And now the world feels even more distant and divided. How can so many countries, languages and cultures come together, if only one way is accepted?’
His appearance comes four years after he was accused of sexual misconduct by eight women and issued an apology to ‘anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected’ by his behaviour, saying it was ‘never my intent’.
Sixteen people – eight witnesses and eight who claimed to be victims – had come forward to allege the actor engaged in ‘inappropriate behaviour’ and ‘harassment’ as they worked alongside him.
Football fans have reacted with fury on social media at the actor’s appearance in the ceremony, with one calling it ‘disappointing’ and another saying: ‘When you have to act out a scene with Morgan Freeman ”welcoming the entire world” to your country for a soccer tournament, maybe you shouldn’t host the World Cup.’
In Britain, broadcasters chose not to show the ceremony, instead showing a pre-packaged report on Qatar’s questionable human rights record and the controversy surrounding the tournament – meaning fans missed out on much of the spectacle.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino gave a staggering speech on Saturday when he once again begged for the focus of the tournament to be on the football, and called the ‘one-sided’ criticism ‘hypocrisy’.
Fireworks explode above the stadium ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador
FIFA president Gianni Infantino gave another staggering speech on Saturday, again pleading for the focus to be on the football.
David Beckham looks on from an executive box Qatar v Ecuador, FIFA World Cup 2022, Group A, Football, Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar
Morgan Freeman at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Opening Ceremony Qatar v Ecuador
The opening ceremony at the Al Bayt Stadium took place before kick off on Sunday afternoon
Scott slated Infantino for his words, branding the 52-year-old ‘confusing and absolutely bizarre’.
‘I’m trying to understand, you brought a World Cup here and I’m trying to understand about a culture’, she said. ‘I’m trying to understand everything – the whole context of what’s going on and what the FIFA president said yesterday is to me confusing and absolutely bizarre. How you can say ‘today I am a migrant worker’? No you are not and you never will be.
‘Yes you have moved forward and now there is a minimum wage in this country that happened in the last two years, £1 an hour, £240 a month, your salary is £1.5 million or whatever it is, you will never know what it is like to be a migrant worker and for families now who lose their loved ones just trying to make a living is absolutely bizarre.
‘And for FIFA to be awarding clubs compensation of over £200million to allow their players to be playing here is absurd because you’re not even committing to a compensation fund for families.’
Several fans have criticised the organisation’s decision to focus on the issues rather than the football straight away, with many labelling Lineker and the station ‘woke’.
‘BBC going full on woke from the off. #worldcup2022qatar leave politics out of football. Hope all the virtue signallers have a lovely afternoon.’ said one user.
‘And the BBC tv woke fest has begun! Lineker was bad enough normally without an agenda to drive his wokeness!’ added another.’
In a separate controversy, the World Cup will be a mostly alcohol free affair after officials decided to turn off the beer taps inside stadiums, drawing even more criticism.
Qatar is a typically teetotal nation where tourists can only buy or consume alcohol inside licensed hotels or restaurants. Drinking in public is punishable by a prison sentence or even public whippings.
Exemptions for the World Cup previously meant meant fans were able to buy beers in special ‘fan zones’ or on stadium concourses.
But Qatar reneged on part of that deal, meaning beer can now only be sold only inside the ‘fan zones’ and will not be available in the stadiums.
Pints will cost £12, only be available at certain times, and each person will be limited to a maximum of four to stop them getting drunk.
Those who are drunk risk being taken away to ‘special areas’ until they have sobered up.
On Saturday, FIFA’s Infantino rounded on European critics of Qatar, saying engagement was the only way to improve rights, while Doha has also pointed to labour reforms. On LGBT+ rights, organisers say all are welcome while warning against public affection.
Supporters arrived at the Al Bayt stadium for this afternoon’s opening match under a glaring sun in temperatures in excess of 30 degrees celsius.
The vice president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who is also Dubai’s ruler, arrived in Qatar for the World Cup opening on Sunday, Qatar’s news agency said.
And Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince and a delegation of ministers arrived in the neighbouring country this morning to attend the opening ceremony, Saudi state media reported.
Mohammed bin Salman was accompanied by the kingdom’s energy, interior, foreign, commerce and investment ministers as well as senior officials including his national security adviser and head of the National Guard, the official Saudi Press Agency said.
Qatari fans in crisp white thobes and women in black shayla headdresses and abayhas were seen filing into the stadium, which has been designed to look like the tents used by nomads.
They were accompanied by Ecuador fans, many of whom donned extravagant headdresses, balaclavas and masks and carried their national flags.
The atmosphere appeared friendly, with both sets of fans stopping to snap photos together outside the stadium’s entry gates.
David Beckham watches from the stands during opening ceremony: Footballer joins dignitaries in the stadium amid fury over his controversial £10m deal to be Qatar World Cup ambassador
David Beckham is in attendance at the opening game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha amid controversy surrounding his reported £10 million promotional deal with the tournament’s organisers.
The former England captain was pictured in the stands watching on during the tournament’s opening ceremony at the Al Bayt stadium in the Qatari capital earlier.
It is believed Becks remained in the stands to watch the match between hosts Qatar and Ecuador which officially kicks off the tournament.
Beckham’s attendance comes as comedian Joe Lycett livestreamed himself ‘shredding £10,000’ destined for charity after the footballer failed to pull out of his lucrative World Cup promotional deal.
Mr Lycett, 34, has openly spoken about being queer and advocated for LGBTQ+ rights.
The comic issued an ultimatum to Beckham after it was reported he had signed a £10 million deal with the FIFA World Cup hosts despite the nation’s highly questionably human rights record.
Homosexuality remains illegal in the Gulf state and anyone found participating in same-sex sexual activity can be punished with up to seven years in prison.
Qatar ambassador, David Beckham ahead of the FIFA World Cup Group A match at the Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
David Beckham looks on from an executive box Qatar v Ecuador, FIFA World Cup 2022, Group A, Football, Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar – 20 Nov 2022
Becks’ attended the openin match in Doha despite controversy surrounding his reported £10 million promotional deal with the tournament’s organisers
Comedian Joe Lycett has livestreamed himself ‘shredding £10,000’ after David Beckham failed to pull out of his £10million World Cup deal
Mr Lycett then walked into shot wearing a fluffy rainbow jacket and put each wad of cash into the shredder, before posing in front of the camera and walking out of frame
The comic issued an ultimatum to the former England footballer David Beckham after it was reported he had signed a £10 million deal with the FIFA World Cup hosts
The livestream, which was broadcast on a website set up by Mr Lycett called benderslikeBeckham, showed a woodchipper in the background with what appeared to be two stacks of cash in front of it.
A seemingly solemn Mr Lycett then walked into shot wearing a fluffy rainbow jacket and put each wad into the shredder, before posing in front of the camera and walking out of frame.
He shared the video of the livestream on Twitter afterwards with the caption ‘A platform for progress’.
Birmingham-born comedian Mr Lycett unveiled the deadline last week in a video message posted on social media in which he offered to donate £10,000 of his own money to LGBTQ+ charities if Beckham ended the sponsorship before the tournament started.
If not, Mr Lycett said he would livestream himself shredding the money along with Beckham’s ‘status as gay icon’.
Earlier, the comic began counting down the hours to midday with the tag #benderslikeBeckham and a link to a website he created for the stunt.
The livestream had more than 13,000 viewers.
On Saturday the comedian tweeted a photograph of what appears to be a stack of cash with the caption ’24 hours to go…’ and #benderslikeBeckham.
This followed a tweet on Friday of an image of a large woodchipper with the caption ’48 hours to go’.
Sharing the video on Twitter on November 13, Mr Lycett said that although Beckham has previously been a vocal supporter of gay rights, he has signed a reported £10 million deal with ‘one of the worst places in the world to be gay.’
The livestream, which was broadcast on a website set up by Mr Lycett called benderslikeBeckham, showed a woodchipper in the background with two wads of cash in front of it
He shredded the wads of cash one at a time, saying nothing, then left the frame
Joe Lycett, pictured with the £10,000 of his own money that he said would either be shredded or donated to charity
On November 16, Mr Lycett shared an email sent to Mr Beckham’s PR saying there was only four days to go and urging a response, stressing that he did not want to be forced to shred the money.
Mr Lycett said previously in a video message: ‘This is a message to David Beckham. I consider you, along with Kim Woodburn and Monty Don, to be a gay icon.
‘You were the first premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like Attitude, to speak openly about your gay fans, and you married a Spice Girl which is the gayest thing a human being can do.
‘But now it’s 2022 and you’ve signed a reported £10 million deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the FIFA World Cup.
‘Qatar was voted as the one of the worst places in the world to be gay – homosexuality is illegal, punishable by imprisonment, and if you’re Muslim, possibly even death.
Mr Lycett shared the video of the livestream on Twitter afterwards with the caption ‘A platform for progress’
The livestream was on the website set up for the stunt, called benderslikeBeckham, in preparation for 12pm
‘You have always talked about the power of football as a force for good. Which suggests to me you have never seen West Brom.
‘But generally I agree – so with that in mind I’m giving you a choice. If you end your relationship with Qatar I will donate ten grand of my own money (that’s a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting) to charities that support queer people in football.
‘However, if you do not I will throw the money into a shredder at midday next Sunday, just before the opening ceremony of the World Cup and stream it right here.
‘Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded.
‘Also you’ll be forcing me to commit what might be a crime. Although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha.
On Saturday the comedian tweeted a photograph of what appears to be a stack of cash with the caption ’24 hours to go…’ and #benderslikeBeckham
This follows a tweet on Friday of an image of a large woodchipper with the caption ’48 hours to go’
‘The choice is yours. I look forward to hearing from you.’
David Beckham previously signed a controversial £10 million deal with Qatar to promote the country ahead of the world cup.
This is despite warnings over human rights abuses and the country’s abysmal record on LGBT+ issues.
In a recent video released by Qatar, David Beckham met with a 60-year-old woman whose homespun entrepreneurship has made her an icon for progressive women throughout the Middle East.
But this was somewhat overshadowed by the woman’s daughter, who acted as interpreter for the clip, later denouncing homosexuality as ‘against human nature’ as she proclaimed: ‘We are not animals here!’
She told the Daily Mail: ‘That is not acceptable.
‘It [homosexuality] goes against human nature, it goes against science and it goes against our culture! We are not animals here!
‘God has differentiated us from animals. God has created us as men and women.
Sharing the video on Twitter on November 13, Mr Lycett said that although Beckham has previously been a vocal supporter of gay rights , he has signed a reported £10 million deal with ‘one of the worst places in the world to be gay’
On November 16, Mr Lycett shared an email sent to Mr Beckham’s PR saying there was only four days to go and urging a response and stressing that he did not want to be forced to shred the money
‘This only happens because people have been sexually abused (as children) and this has made them afraid.’
LGBT+ football fans have been warned by some organisations to stay away from this year’s world cup amid fears over their safety.
David Beckham has been widely criticised for his deal with Qatar, and has not spoken about the country’s oppressive laws against the LGBT+ community.
It is not the first time David Beckham has come under fire over his contract with Qatar.
An England LGBTQ+ fans’ representative expressed disappointment on Wednesday that David Beckham is a paid ambassador ahead of the World Cup, having previously considered him to be a ‘great ally’ of the community.
Three Lions Pride group members have decided not to travel to the finals which start later this month, amid fears their presence could make the local LGBTQ+ community more vulnerable in a country where same-sex relationships are criminalised.
Mr Lycett even created a new website, ‘benderslikeBeckham’ which he planned to shred the money on
David Beckham, pictured in Qatar, has signed a promotional contract with the country reportedly worth £10 million
Three Lions Pride co-founder Di Cunningham believes players speaking out on LGBTQ+ rights have ‘shown up’ tournament organisers FIFA, but reserved particular criticism for those, like former England captain Beckham, who have been paid to endorse Qatar.
On a webinar hosted by the Sports and Rights Alliance on Wednesday, she said: ‘One of the difficulties we’re having is people taking the money in order to promote Qatar, to promote the World Cup.
‘We’re just so disappointed because the LGBTQ+ community has had David Beckham on a pedestal as a great ally, and then it turns out he’s an ambassador for this World Cup and that’s incredibly disappointing.
‘So I hope the message has got through that people will be criticised for that.’
Mr Lycett, who has previously appeared on numerous television comedy shows and presented the Great British Sewing Bee, has previously been very politically outspoken.
On the first episode of Laura Kuenssberg’s Sunday Programme on the BBC, Mr Lycett was invited on the show and was widely applauded on social media for mocking the Conservative Party and its then-leader, Liz Truss.
Maluma – the Colombian singer behind World Cup anthem – WALKS OUT of TV interview as he’s accused of ‘whitewashing’ human rights abuses in Qatar
By Hannah McDonald for MailOnline
Colombian singer Maluma, who sings on the World Cup’s official anthem, stormed out of an Israeli TV interview after being accused of ‘whitewashing’ human rights abuses in Qatar.
During a BBC broadcast to Israeli public television, the 28-year-old singer was asked: ‘Don’t you have a problem with human rights violations in this country?’
Maluma, whose real name is Juan Luis Londoño Arias, responded by saying it was something he could not resolve and that he was just there to ‘enjoy the party of soccer’.
After being asked by reporter Moav Vardi if his presence at the tournament was ‘helping whitewashing’ of human rights abuses, the singer called the reporter rude and stormed out.
The star features alongside Lebanese singer Mryiam Fares and Nicki Minaj on the official Fifa Qatar World Cup anthem called Tukoh Taka.
During a BBC broadcast to Israeli public television, Maluma (right) was asked by reporter Moav Vardi (left): ‘Don’t you have a problem with human rights violations in this country?’
In the clip of the interview, Maluma is asked: ‘Shakira and Dua Lipa refused to take part in this World Cup due to the bad records of Qatar regarding human rights.
‘Obviously people think what, Maluma don’t you have a problem with human rights violations in this country?’
The star replies: ‘Yeah but it’s something I can’t resolve. I just came here to enjoy life, enjoy soccer, the party of soccer.
‘It’s not actually something that I have to be involved with.
‘I’m here enjoying my music and the beautiful life playing soccer too.’
After being asked if his presence at the tournament was ‘helping whitewashing’ of human rights abuses, the singer called the reporter rude and stormed out
Maluma stormed out of an Israeli TV interview after being accused of ‘whitewashing’ human rights abuses in Qatar
After Maluma asked whether he had to answer the ‘whitewashing’ question, people are heard talking in the background but it cannot be made out what is said.
Maluma then says ‘We don’t do that’ as he stands up to leave the interview and calls the reporter ‘rude’.
In response Vardi asks: ‘I’m rude? Why am I rude Maluma? This is what people say, it is what people think.’
The singer, who has a girlfriend called Susana Gomez, is seen partying in the desert with Minaj and Fares in the World Cup anthem video.
The singer, who has a girlfriend called Susana Gomez (pictured), features alongside Lebanese singer Myriam Fares and Nicki Minaj on the official Fifa Qatar World Cup anthem called Tukoh Taka
Mulama collaborated with American singer Madonna in 2019 on a track called Medellin
The Colombian singer also featured alongside Jennifer Lopez in the 2022 film Marry Me
In the music video for the song, Minaj arrives in a packed bus full of revellers before Fares and Maluma join later.
Maluma previously recorded a song for the 2018 world Cup in Russia.
In 2019 he appeared collaborated with Madonna, voiced the character Mariano in Disney’s 2021 film Encanto and features alongside Jennifer Lopez in the 2022 film Marry Me.
Other performers such as Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart rejected the invitation to perform, citing the human rights violations in the countr