Gary Neville brutally taken down by Ian Hislop over World Cup role and ‘taking Qatari money’ on Have I Got News For You – but Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher defends old Manchester United rival

Gary Neville brutally taken down by Ian Hislop over World Cup role and ‘taking Qatari money’ on Have I Got News For You – but Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher defends old Manchester United rival

It turns out Gary Neville was right to be nervous about his guest host slot on Have I Got News For You.

The Manchester United legend admitted he was ‘caught with a few punches to the face’ from Ian Hislop, who took him to task for ‘taking Qatari money’ as the former right-back attempted to defend his role at the World Cup.

BBC

Neville was given a brutal dressing down on Have I Got News For You

Hislop did not hold back as he took Neville to task over his job at the Qatar World Cup

BBC

Hislop did not hold back as he took Neville to task over his job at the Qatar World Cup

The backlash over Neville’s decision to accept a job offer from state-funded broadcaster beIN SPORTS continued, but this time it was on primetime Friday night TV.

The ex-England defender, who will work as a commentator during Qatar 2022, has been forced to defend his position and has often said his role will not stop him from critiquing the issues that have marred the build-up to this World Cup.

Human rights issues, the treatment of migrant workers and criminalisation of homosexuality in Qatar have dominated the discussions over this winter’s tournament, where the football could be overshadowed by ongoing protests and issues within the Middle Eastern nation.

Neville has been vocal in his objection to injustices within British politics, and has therefore been called out for hypocrisy, virtue signalling and accused of giving in to sports washing by taking the job with beIN.

And Hislop certainly didn’t mess around when he pulled up Neville on that topic during the show.

“The others have been very gentle with you, Gary, but the elephant in the room is still there,” Hislop began.

Neville tried to defend himself

BBC

Neville tried to defend himself

“You’re commentating there aren’t you? And what’s the defence?”

Neville replied: “You’ve got a choice I think, haven’t you?”

Hislop added: “What? Going or not going?” 

Neville explained: “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 and you stay back home and don’t go,”

“And I’ve always said we should challenge them.”

But Hislop presented Neville with an alternative path he could have taken, but apparently decided not to.

“There is another option, you stay at home and highlight the abuses,” he said. “You don’t have to go and take the Qatari’s money. I’m not trying to be tiresome, but it’s not a very good defence.”

Neville received support from fellow TV pundit Carragher after the show

Getty

Neville received support from fellow TV pundit Carragher after the show

When asked how people can realistically talk about the issues during the tournament, Neville replied: “You can highlight it. You can highlight it during the commentary.”

That led to Hislop ad-libbing a line of football commentary to show how ridiculous that would sound: “And it’s the kick-off here in this appalling country with a terrible human right record, honestly the amount of immigrant workers that have died, it’s a shocker… oooo it’s a goal!”.

And Neville appeared lost for a way to respond.

However, the ex-Man United star found an unlikely source of support from old Liverpool rival and punditry sparring partner Jamie Carragher, who said he dealt with the situation well.

“Well done Gary Neville hosting Have I Got New For You,” Reds legend Carragher wrote on Twitter.

“Went out of his comfort zone and took a few blows, but was still standing by the end!”

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Before the show, Neville was praised for posting a video on Instagram where he opened up about his nerves from the dressing room.

“For the first time in maybe 10 years since I did my first Monday Night Football I actually feel quite nervous and a little bit… I used the word stretch, not stressed,” he said.

“I feel a little bit stretched and I’m just videoing this in an uncomfortable moment because we sometimes put ourselves in these moments in life, we’ve never done it before, I always used to say it was like diving in the deep end as a kid when you haven’t got your arm bands on for the first time.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen, that little bit of trepidation.

“I’ve got what I feel are intelligent, clever, experienced, broadcaster types around me and I am not a presenter, so here goes!”

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