Gary Lineker has received backlash on Twitter after saying the Al-Bayt stadium “might be my favourite” - having previously spoken against Qatar hosting the World Cup.
“Might be my favourite stadium,” he wrote with a self-taken photo of Al-Bayt, shortly after 10pm after another day of presenting the BBC’s coverage of the World Cup.
His comment came as a surprise to some fans with Lineker having been critical of FIFA and Qatar over the staging of the event.
Might be my favourite stadium. pic.twitter.com/qirdqmgkOF
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) November 27, 2022
He previously said: “There are significant issues around this World Cup, obviously with human rights issues, what has happened with the building of the stadiums and workers' rights and homophobia and various things they have here.
“I am accustomed to it as I've spent most of my life in the build-up to World Cups talking about issues other than football, but when the football starts you tend to stop talking about it. But that is how sportswashing works so you have to be careful.
“I think it's important to talk about the various issues going on, as well as the football.”
Lineker’s tweet suggested he might prefer the Al-Bayt to Wembley, Camp Nou, or the King Power stadiums - where his beloved England, Barcelona, and Leicester, teams he represented as a player in the 1980s, all respectively play.
I like you Gary but this is incredibly tone deaf of you. It’s one thing to be there presenting the football, that’s your job and we are all watching. But this is poor.
— Leon Hobbes (@LeonHobbes) November 27, 2022
On Twitter, many users lined up to criticise Lineker over the tweet.
Jake wrote: “It’s a real shame thousands of people died building it.”
Leon Hobbes added: “I like you Gary but this is incredibly tone deaf of you. It’s one thing to be there presenting the football, that’s your job and we are all watching. But this is poor.”
Looks absolutely stunning in the evening. pic.twitter.com/ds2EGjWlLV
— Nachikethas (@nachikethasmj) November 28, 2022
Sammy Delight said: “Are you being paid to say nice things about the stadiums each night? It’s definitely coming across that way.”
Other users were more favourable, one agreeing “it looks absolutely stunning in the evening,” with others saying it was also their favourite.