With the World Cup well underway, the scrutiny on the hosts has only intensified and Roy Keane and Graeme Souness' comments on Qatar were in contrast ahead of Tuesday's football.
Keane and Souness are part of ITV's punditry team for the tournament, and appeared on the station ahead of Tuesday morning's game between Argentina and Saudi Arabia.
Speaking on the host nation, Keane pointed out the human rights abuses in the country's past and present, before Souness made a surprising link to the issues in Britain's history.
Roy Keane's condemnation of the World Cup being held in Qatar was widely praised on social media.
Roy Keane and Graeme Souness on Qatar
Tuesday's first game saw the first bow of Lionel Messi at the 2022 World Cup, as Argentina took on Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
Roy Keane and Graeme Souness were in the stadium on punditry duty for ITV, and spoke out on the human rights issues in the country.
"The World Cup shouldn't be here, you've got a country and the way they treat migrant workers, gay people. We're on about spreading the game but dismissing human rights, it's not right. It shouldn't be here."
Powerful words from Roy Keane about the World Cup in Qatar pic.twitter.com/lAUbItPC0Z
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) November 22, 2022
Gary Neville drew criticism when he spoke on Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports on the need to bring the World Cup to areas like the Middle East, despite the obvious issues of corruption and human rights abuses blighting this first Gulf World Cup.
Roy Keane's comments were in stark contrast, as he simply stated that the World Cup should not have been brought to Qatar in the first place.
The World Cup shouldn't be here.
It's been mentioned there, the corruption regarding FIFA.
The way they treat migrant workers, and gay people. It's great that it's been brought up.
They shouldn't have the World Cup here, you can't treat people like that. We all love football, we all love soccer, and we all love spreading the game - but just to dismiss human rights, flipping on that because of a football tournament? It's not right.
We've heard plenty of pundits speaking out on the issues surrounding Qatar, but Keane's criticism is certainly the most point blank we've heard so far. He seemed frustrated after Souness had failed to strongly condemn the issues at hand by saying that activists would "always" come back to the human rights abuses.
It's hard to argue with Roy Keane's assessment.
Of course, the World Cup should be brought to all areas of the world, but the choice of Qatar as host nation when so many human rights issues are continually prevalent in the country is hard to justify.
Keane had previously spoken strongly on the decision of European teams to pull out of wearing armbands in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
The comments from Roy Keane drew widespread praise from the watching football community.
No mental gymnastics from Roy. https://t.co/GcT6UU6Rib
— David Preece (@davidpreece12) November 22, 2022
Roy Keane having a fine World Cup so far (yes, yes, insert joke here) https://t.co/nXKtNxiSjF
— Neil O'Riordan (@noriordan) November 22, 2022
There is no better pundit than Roy Keane at cutting through noise and mealy-mouthed punditry to deliver the salient point. https://t.co/D0hb5Db6ux
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) November 22, 2022
Roy Keane is brilliant pic.twitter.com/aEG0nQURTu
— Thomas Niblock (@thomasniblock) November 22, 2022
— Pure Roy Keane (@PureRoyKeane) November 22, 2022
Graeme Souness, oft outspoken on political issues in the UK, would go on to make a surprising link between Qatar's issues and the human rights abuses carried out by the UK in the past.
After pointing out that attention would always be drawn to the issues at hand in Qatar, Souness then appeared to empathise with the hosts by linking back to the issues surrounding the UK's history.
Of all people I did not expect Graeme Souness to call out the British for their past atrocities pic.twitter.com/JIFiaUToyw
— Aidan (@AidanFar) November 22, 2022
Souness made reference to the centuries long British occupation in Ireland, as well as their history of colonisation, in a surprising comment:
They have a chance to put certain things right but they're not going to put everything right. We don't live in a perfect world, nobody lives in a perfect world.
We're not perfect as well in our history.
The British have not been perfect in many parts of the world, including in Roy's home. We've been far from perfect.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has made similar comments in recent days, and Souness' remarks appear to be a deflection from the issues on the ground in Qatar.