Gary Neville was left lost for words on Have I Got News For You on Friday, after Ian Hislop brilliantly pulled him up on his hypocrisy surrounding the World Cup in Qatar.
Neville, despite being outspoken about political issues on home soil, and claiming to speak out against the human rights abuses in Qatar, will work for the state-owned beIN Sports during the tournament, and travel to Qatar for the World Cup.
On Friday night's BBC quiz show, Neville was the guest host. When questions pivoted to the topic of the World Cup, Ian Hislop astutely pointed out that Neville could not have his cake and eat it when it came to calling out the situation in Qatar, leaving Neville squirming awkwardly in the host's chair.
Gary Neville: Ian Hislop brilliantly calls out World Cup hypocrisy
Gary Neville will be at the World Cup in Qatar, working as a pundit not only for ITV Sport, but for Qatari channel beIN Sports. The former Manchester United right-back has already travelled to Qatar twice for his "Overlap" series, once to interview David Beckham, and once to explore the situation for those living in the country.
The human rights abuses in Qatar are well documented, but Neville says that he will travel to the tournament with the intention of discussing these issues on air - even on beIN Sports.
When the topic of the World Cup came up on Have I Got News For You, Ian Hislop wasn't particularly sympathetic.
— Connor Andrews (@ConnorAndrewsTS) November 4, 2022
Gary Neville turned to Hislop to ask whether England could win the World Cup, before Hislop pivoted to turn the focus back on Neville, and point out the hypocrisy of his decision to travel to the World Cup and take payment from the Qatari government.
Gary Neville: Ian, is it coming home?
Ian Hislop: What, your reputation? The others have been very gentle with you, Gary, but the elephant in the room is still there. You're commentating there, aren't you? What's the defence - footballing term?
Gary Neville: You've got a choice I think, haven't you?
Ian Hislop: What, going or not going?
Gary Neville: My view always has been that you either highlight the issues and challenges in these countries and speak about them, or you basically don't say anything about them and you stay back home and don't go. I've always said we should challenge them.
Ian Hislop: There's another option, you can stay at home and highlight the abuses. You don't have to go and take the Qataris' money. I'm not trying to be harsh but it's not a really good defence.
Several other pundits have spoken out against the hosting of the World Cup in Qatar in recent weeks. Richie Sadlier spoke of the "stench" surrounding the tournament, and the fact that FIFA have "blood on their hands" at RTÉ's World Cup launch this week, while Jamie Carragher issued an outstanding takedown of the tournament on Sky.
Gary Neville, on the other hand, will take payment directly from Qatar, alongside former teammate David Beckham. Neville's 'Overlap' interview with Beckham, which essentially amounted to a promotion of the host country and the tournament, was understandably slated by football fans.
For a man so outspoken about workers' rights in the UK, Neville's decision to work for a state where 6,500 migrant workers have reportedly died over the past decade is bitterly disappointing, and it was terrific to see Hislop pull him up on his decision on Have I Got News For You.
The World Cup kicks off on November 20 with Qatar v Ecuador.