Gary Lineker opened BBC's coverage of this winter's World Cup in Qatar with a hard-hitting monologue that has sparked plenty of comments online.
Host nation Qatar will face Ecuador as the tournament officially begins on Sunday 20 November but questions surrounding the tournament have overshadowed the football side of things.
Throughout the build-up to this winter's tournament, the hosts have been criticised over their attitude towards women and people within the LGBTQ+ community.
In addition, concerns continue to be raised over the country’s treatment of migrant workers, as well as their controversial human rights record.
BBC presenter Gary Lineker touched on the above in his opening monologue.
"Ever since FIFA chose Qatar back in 2010, the smallest nation to have hosted football's greatest competition has faced some big questions," Lineker said.
"From accusations of corruption in the bidding process to the treatment of migrant workers who built the stadiums, where many lost their lives. Homosexuality is illegal here. Women's rights and freedom of expression are in the spotlight. Also the decision six years ago to switch the World Cup from summer to winter.
"Against that backdrop, there's a tournament to be played. One that will be watched and enjoyed around the world.
"Stick to football say FIFA. Well, we will, for a couple of minutes at least."
Earlier this month, Lineker revealed that thought about boycotting his media duties at the Qatar World Cup due to the controversy surrounding the tournament.
The former England striker revealed to iNewspaper that he thought about neglecting his media duties for the BBC for this tournament, and said that he opted to not be a part of the draw.
“I thought about boycotting the World Cup but we’re there to report on it, not support it,” the Match of the Day presenter said.
“I was asked to do the draw for the finals but I didn’t because that would make me hypocritical.”
Qatar was given the honour of hosting the tournament back in 2010, when they received a full backing from Football's world governing body FIFA.
However, the President at the time, Sepp Blatter, has recently come out and revealed that the awarding to Qatar was a 'mistake' and a 'bad choice'.
The 86-year-old, who served as the eighth president of FIFA from 1998 to 2015, spoke to Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger about a range of subjects, including the decision to award Qatar the world's biggest sporting event in 2010.
"The choice of Qatar was a mistake," he told Swiss publication Tages-Anzeiger.
"At the time, we actually agreed in the executive committee that Russia should get the 2018 World Cup and the USA that of 2022. It would have been a gesture of peace if the two long-standing political opponents had hosted the World Cup one after the other.
"It's too small a country. Football and the World Cup are too big for that."
Blatter added: "I can only repeat: the award to Qatar was a mistake, and I was responsible for that as president at the time.
"Now that the World Cup is imminent, I'm glad that, with a few exceptions, no footballers are boycotting the World Cup.
"For me it is clear: Qatar is a mistake. The choice was bad. What I'm wondering: why is the new FIFA president [Gianni Infantino] living in Qatar? He can't be the head of the local World Cup organisation. That's not his job. There are two organising committees for this - a local one and one from FIFA."
Featured Image Credit: BBC
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