Rio Ferdinand dropped by BBC for World Cup opener over Saudi Arabia hypocrisy fears

Rio Ferdinand dropped by BBC for World Cup opener over Saudi Arabia hypocrisy fears

Rio Ferdinand was reportedly dropped from BBC’s coverage of the opening game of the World Cup due to concerns his links with Saudi Arabia would lead to accusations of hypocrisy.

Ferdinand was due to appear with Alan Shearer and Alex Scott alongside host Gary Lineker for Qatar’s opener against Ecuador but was replaced by Ashley Williams when it was decided the programme would focus on ethical issues surrounding the World Cup, according to The Daily Mail.

The BBC chose not show the opening ceremony on their main channel, instead discussing Qatar’s human rights record.

Lineker highlighted issues such as the ban on homosexuality, women’s rights and the deaths of migrant workers and it’s claimed BBC executives raised a concern that they would be accused of hypocrisy had Ferdinand been on the punditry panel.

Ferdinand was a guest of the Ministry of Investment in Saudi Araba – a country which shares some of the issues of Qatar – at a conference last year to promote ‘investment opportunities in the kingdom’.

It’s not clear whether Ferdinand has invested in the country but has previously tweeted about the ‘unreal’ hospitality in Saudi Arabia.

The BBC have denied that Ferdinand was dropped for the reason asserted by The Daily Mail.

In his opening monologue of the World Cup, Lineker highlighted the problems in Qatar.

“Ever since FIFA chose Qatar to host the World Cup in 2010, the smallest nation to have hosted football’s greatest competition has faced some big questions,” Lineker began.

“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 is 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.”

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TAGS: #Rio #Ferdinand #dropped #BBC #World #Cup #opener #Saudi #Arabia #hypocrisy #fears


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