David Beckham is the latest football legend to appear on Gary Neville's highly rated series 'The Overlap' this week, but his appearance has caused a lot of controversy due to Beckham's involvement as an ambassador for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar later this year.
Neville talks a lot of politics these days. He is a constant critic of Boris Johnson on Twitter. He said last March that Newcastle boss Eddie Howe 'is going to have to start answering questions' about the human rights abuses committed by the Saudi regime who own the club. Still, Neville refused to question his former teammate about well-documented human rights abuses by the hosts of this year's World Cup when interviewing Beckham this week.
Speaking on 'The Overlap' from Qatar, former England captain David Beckham gushed about Qatar's credentials as World Cup hosts.
"I've been coming to Qatar for quite a number of years, I've seen hospitality, I've seen the warmth of the people and you know we talk about football being for everybody. We talk about the World Cup being for everybody and this is the first time that a World Cup is being hosted in this region. And that is an incredible moment.
"You know to be able to see the likes of Messi, Ronaldo, all of these great players that they look up to, it's going to inspire so many different generations. This is going to be an incredible experience and yes it's new, yes people don't know too much about the region but believe me, this is going to be a tournament that you're not going to want to miss."
Back in October, Beckham signed a controversial deal to become a 2022 World Cup ambassador worth around €200m.
Yesterday, Neville's World Cup chat with his former England teammate was uploaded to youtube. While the conversation covered topics like his red card in Saint-Etienne in 1998, there were no questions about the treatment of migrant workers and the LGBTQ+ community in Qatar.
There's been widespread criticism of the interview. If you're looking for a sign about how badly the episode is being received, just look at the comments under the youtube video. Youtube commenters are rarely the most critical bunch but a scan through the remarks under the video (which has been viewed over 1m times in 24 hours) gives a sense of people's disappointment in Neville.
— Nick (@NCP2102) June 16, 2022
5 of the most upvoted comments on 'The Overlap' World Cup special
John Roberts: "Neville saying Howe should talk about human rights but doesn’t ask beckham about accepting 100million to be an ambassador for Qatar" (2,700 upvotes)
LBCFC: "Would’ve been a great episode if not for Beckham trying to sell this World Cup, and Gary not being restricted in what he could ask him $$$" (800 upvotes)
Deanopain: "It's interesting to see the media training in action here. Becks has definitely had coaching in how to speak. Measured tones, not rushing, being clear. Helped him dance around the controversy of being in Qatar in the first place." (510 upvotes)
Luciole Dizerot: "Really disappointed with the fact that despite being a self proclaimed ambassador for social and financial issues within football, Neville doesn't say anything about his mate receiving millions from a government building their country with slave labour. This World Cup is shameful" (497 upvotes)
Dom B: "There’s no way he actually said ‘the World Cup is for everyone’ when arguing why it should be held in Qatar. Then celebrates England players for fighting against discrimination. Jesus f**king wept." (227 upvotes)
Here's the full episode of The Overlap below.