HIGNFY's Ian Hislop Goes In On Guest Host Gary Neville For Accepting Qatar World Cup Role

"It’s just not a very good defence.”
Ian Hislop
Ian Hislop

Have I Got News For You panellist Ian Hislop had some strong words for guest host Gary Neville when the subject of the upcoming World Cup in Qatar came up in the conversation.

During Friday’s episode, Gary questioned Ian about whether “it’s coming home”, to which the satirist responded: “What, your reputation?”

The others have been very gentle with you, Gary, but the elephant in the room is still there,” Ian then began. “You’re commentating there, aren’t you?”

When Gary confirmed that he was, Ian responded: “And what’s the defence? Football term.”

“Well, you’ve got a choice, I think, haven’t you?” the former Manchester United player suggested, with Ian then asking: “What, going or not going?”

The fact Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup has been controversial since it was first announced in 2010. This has namely due to reports that thousands of migrant workers have died in Qatar in the lead-up to the World Cup, and the country’s track record with human rights, including those of LGBTQ+ people.

Defending his decision to work in Qatar during the upcoming World Cup, Gary told the panel: “My view always has been, you either highlight the issues and challenges in these countries, and speak about them, or you basically don’t say anything and stay back home, and don’t go. And I’ve always said we should challenge them.”

“There’s another option,” Ian then pointed out. “You stay at home and highlight the abuses. You don’t have to go and take the Qataris’ money… It’s just not a very good defence.”

Gary Neville
Gary Neville

As Gary attempted to laugh off the comments, guest panellist Richard Madeley then god involved, questioning how performers like Robbie Williams and the Black Eyed Peas are “supposed to highlight it”.

“Are they going to make a speech on the stage? Of course they’re not,” the daytime star said.

“You can highlight it,” Gary then insisted, with Ian then questioning: “During a match?”

Imitating a commentator, he concluded: “It’s the kick-off, here in this appalling country… human rights record… and honestly, I think… oh, someone’s kicking the ball but honestly the amount of immigrant workers who died, it’s a shocker. Oh, it’s a goal!”

Throughout his years on HIGNFY, Ian has become known for his no-holds-barred takedowns, whether that’s of former Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings or Eamonn Holmes’ comments about conspiracy theories during the early stages of the pandemic.


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