GARY Lineker has admitted that he would never accept a £150 million payout from the Qatar World Cup in an exclusive interview with The Sun.
The remark comes after David Beckham landed the staggering 10-year deal to become a cultural ambassador for the country last month.
Gary opened up in an exclusive new interviewCredit: Getty
David Beckham landed £150m to become a cultural ambassador for QatarCredit: Getty
Lineker and the rest of the BBC sport team will head to Qatar next year to cover the World Cup – and now he has had his say.
Much has been written about the decision to give the tournament to the Middle Eastern country with an appalling human rights record and barbaric anti-gay laws.
Gary, who has previously spoken out against the host country, has been accused of hypocrisy for covering the event.
Something which, understandably, he finds hugely frustrating.
In an exclusive interview, the 60-year-old star told us: “I get this all the time. ‘So you’re not going to go then?’ I’ve got to go because it’s my job. News reporters go, so why am I not allowed to?
“You don’t have to agree — and I vehemently disagree with the regime — and I’m not going there to cheer it on. I’m not a supporter. We know it was a corrupt bid. We shouldn’t be there, but it is there, and I’ll go and report on it from there.
“Will I support the Qatar World Cup in a sense of all that? No, because they’ve got too many fundamental human rights wrong. I’m aware of all that.
“Will I do stuff for Qatar in the World Cup? Absolutely not. Whatever they wanted to pay me the answer would be no. But I will go there and report the World Cup for the BBC.”
So what does he make of David Beckham’s decision to become a cultural ambassador for Qatar, landing himself a staggering £150million deal in the process?
Diplomatically, Gary replies: “It’s not something I would have done but it’s his business.
How many people would turn down £150million? The figure would be very, very few.
“I’m not a judgmental person. How many people would turn down £150million? The figure would be very, very few. I wouldn’t do it, and I mean that.
“But he’s a business person. He’s done really well, he’s a nice guy, and he’s been very successful.”
On the pitch, Gary Lineker was one of the country’s most prolific scorers, and is now the BBC’s lead football presenter having been the face of Match Of The Day for the past 22 years.
He is now flexing a new presenting muscle, hosting game show Sitting On A Fortune, which kicks off tomorrow night at 7pm on ITV.
Gary is the BBC’s lead football presenterCredit: BBC
His new show Sitting On A Fortune launches tomorrow eveningCredit: ITV
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