Sport

Gary Lineker calls US ‘extraordinarily racist country’ ahead of next World Cup

Gary Lineker's opening World Cup monologue addresses Qatar human rights abuses

Gary Lineker has spoken about the host nations of the 2022 and 2026 World Cups, calling the US an "extraordinarily racist" country.

Lineker has been critical of Qatar throughout this year's tournament and hit out at the country’s record on human rights during the opening titles of the BBC’s coverage of the first game.

The Times reports that Qatar 2022 secretary general Hassan Al-Thawadi said the segment was "very racist" and called for a "balanced view" from the BBC. Lineker defended his views, saying he would have been critical of any host country with deeply entrenched societal issues.

Now, Lineker has spoken about the reasons why Qatar were granted the tournament in the first place, while emphasising that there are “always issues” with host countries.

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The 62-year-old told the News Agents podcast: “We pointed facts out at the beginning of the tournament; those facts remain. So, lots of people were killed doing the stadiums. Yes, the stadiums are extraordinary, but at a great price. Homophobia is an issue here, women’s rights are a little bit of an issue here.”

“For me it was always really more about the corruption side of it because, as I said previously, I think pretty much every country, including our own, has got issues.”

He went on to speak about the 2026 tournament which is being hosted by the US, saying: “And we’re off to America in four years’ time, with Canada and Mexico, but obviously America’s an extraordinarily racist country.”

While pointing out there are “always issues” with host countries, he added that in Qatar it was “more the fact that we just pointed out a few facts and particularly the aspect of it being so corrupt”.

He continued: “They said it was going to be summer and it was in the winter. I don’t think anything’s particularly changed but it’s been a cracking tournament but that’s football; football is a wonderful sport.”

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