GARY Neville’s World Cup rant sparked more than 440 complaints to media regulator Ofcom.
The pundit has come under fire after he misused ITV’s coverage to compare the working conditions of strikers in the UK to migrant workers in scandal-hit Qatar.
Ofcom has reportedly pressured ITV to explain the ex-England ace’s political tirade ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final.
The regulator has said it is taking Neville’s on-air statements “as a priority” as he may face an investigation into whether he has broken the Broadcasting Code.
And ITV sources have warned bosses to “remind our sports presenters” not to politicize their coverage, the DailyMail reports.
Since the extraordinary rant, several other football pundits have lashed out after feeling they’ve crossed a line.
Harry Redknapp called the ex-Manchester United star a “hypocrite” and said his speech was “utterly ridiculous”.
He told TalkTV: “How can you compare what’s going on out there with what’s going on with train drivers and nurses.
“We want nurses to get more money, of course we do, they are fantastic.
“But you can’t compare the two situations. It’s completely ridiculous.”
And former Three Lions player Danny Mills also plotted the tirade.
When asked by GB News if Neville should have given the speech, he said: “I don’t think so.
“You have a platform as an expert, as a person on TV, you clearly have opinions, but there are people who are better read and more knowledgeable to understand all the situations in it.
“We saw it at the start of the World Cup when the BBC didn’t show the opening ceremony on the main channel. And then a little monologue by Gary Lineker.
“It’s okay to have opinions, but if you want to do that, do it on your own social media channels because I think you have more influence.
“If you start mixing politics across the board, I think that’s very, very dangerous.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also weighed in on the debate when he told the pundit to stick with football.
He told the Mail: “I think when most people tune in to see Gary Neville they want to hear about football and watch football. They don’t want to discuss politics.”
His official spokesman added that Neville’s comments were “clearly not legitimate or appropriate”.
Neville has refused to apologize for the tirade in which he attacked the UK government for “demonizing” striking nurses.
He criticized the World Cup host country for its “abhorrent” treatment of workers and said people should “abhor poor housing and working conditions”.
He continued: “We can never accept that in this region or any other and it is only worth noting that in our country we have a current government that demonizes railroad workers, ambulances and terrifying nurses.
“We cannot allow people to be paid an absolute pittance for work, we cannot have people in shelters that are unsavory and disgusting. That shouldn’t happen here.
“That shouldn’t happen here with the wealth that’s available.
“But neither should it happen to the nurses in our country where our nurses are struggling for an extra pound or two.”
Despite his lecture on workers’ rights, several former employees have criticized the working conditions at his hotel.
Ex-staff at his Hotel Football in Manchester say they are “overworked and underestimated”.
In a scathing review on job site Indeed, one worker said: “If you love being overworked and underappreciated, then you’ve found yourself calling.
“Usually understaffed and overworked. Training courses are not available.
“Always work beyond my contracted hours and never get paid for overtime. I was told to take my time instead, but that’s impossible if they don’t have staff to cover that.
“Management is only interested in making a profit and they don’t care how they do it.
“I would not recommend working here at the moment as I know for sure most key workers will want to move on due to the conditions.”
And while Neville hijacked ITV’s coverage to attack poor working conditions, another former hotel worker has branded his business “greedy”.
“Executives are more concerned with cutting costs than making money, providing good service and working conditions,” they added.
Following the backlash to his speech, an Ofcom spokesman said: “We rate this content as a priority and have asked ITV to give us details of the show to inform this work.”
An ITV spokesman said: “Gary Neville has voiced his own personal views in relation to a debate on the treatment of workers in Qatar in a live broadcast. His views are his own and have not been endorsed by ITV.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6951765/hypocrite-gary-nevilles-political-rant-world-cup-sparks-complaints/ The ‘hypocrite’ Gary Neville’s ‘political’ tirade over World Cup strikes sparks hundreds of complaints at Watchdog