World Cup 2022: Gary Lineker faces backlash after tweeting Qatar’s Al-Bayt stadium ‘might be my favourite’

Gary Lineker previously spoke out about Qatar hosting the Fifa World Cup  (BBC)
Gary Lineker previously spoke out about Qatar hosting the Fifa World Cup (BBC)

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.

On Sunday night, he shared a backstreet picture of the distinctive roofline of the arena in Al Khor where England faced the USA on Friday.

“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.

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.

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.”

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.