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Read this: Gary Lineker: 'We were sportswashed'

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Gary Lineker: 'We were sportswashed'…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts, this is the media show from BBC Radio 4 welcome, we're going to hear from Lineker on the BBC's approach to the World Cup 22 FIFA World Cup is Qatar

This was BBC Sports opening montage has its coverage began the time was quite different to World Cups gone by as it was in Gary Lineker's opening from accusations of corruption in the bidding process to the treatment of migrant workers over sexuality is illegal here women's rights and freedom of expression in the spotlight build up featuring discussion of the football but also Jeremy Bowen from BBC News and explain it for me on the controversies around Qatar as host and the pundits talking about these issues and what you could watch the opening ceremony iPlayer it wasn't shown on the BBC One coverage Q an awful.

Lot of discussion about whether this was the right thing to do about where news fits into sport1 Daily Mail

Red France Furious BBC and ITV failed to show World Cup opening ceremony their accusations of hypocrisy inconsistency sour grapes at the tournament being in the Arab World and request for the BBC to stick to football well in a minute will have my man has been head of BBC TV news and head of BBC Sport plus will hear from you York from an SMTP host who has issues with Western media coverage of Qatar the first of all let's hear from the man in the middle of this.

I've been talking at length to Gary Lineker the Golden Germany is never been shown in a football on BBC One it's never been a saying because they're not like the Olympic opening ceremony which are big things where all the athletes who introduced the only show me kind of just a little bit of an addition traditionally the only goes on for 1520 minutes.

Swan no was that it was actually moved in the timings a little bit earlier than it was going to be shown originally obtained from this world cup already would seem that and we came on here just at the very end of the phone, but it was available on BBC iPlayer that was made out where it was available on the red button it wasn't on the BBC website we won't blanking the moment.

It's just that custom that we don't show it.

We try and save people but there was an editorial decision was not just talk about the sport you run a report by me you also featured my BBC News colleague Jeremy Bowen that presumably was a plan from some distance out to bring in a new dimension to the coverage.

Yes very much, so we talked it was the right thing to do given the nature of the World Cup now.

Play I'm I'm very custom 22 doing World Cups in in countries where there are problems in you end up talking about things that away from the foot quite frequently same in Russia prior to that tournament that invaded Primera few years before I think Brazil we constantly talking about the next are buying people on the streets because they were complaining that the money should have been spent on stadiums.

It should be spent on social care.

I wasn't around in the 1934 Cup that was that was used as a vehicle really to push fascism Briar Mussolini and when it was held in Italy so it we are kind of accustomed to this.

I think we were washed 4 years ago and when it was in Russia I think we're going to have great it was the other and that's how smart washing work.

Talk about the other issues, so it was serious team the right thing to do that's interesting.

Do you think that the approach the BBC took on Sunday to talking about the broader issues around Qatar was in some ways a reaction to how you covered it 4 years ago in Russia yes, I think I think we learnt from we probably fell was a mistake.

I think it was woke up there with the streets were sanitised everything was different which seen what is done subsequently but before I think you're looking back now in hindsight.

I think we should probably have spoken out more but I don't I don't have any feeling of mistake about this one of them that because what we done but I do look back 4 years ago still slightly uncomfortable.

You were they presumably away and I don't just mean you personally but as a team aware that with

That you delivered with the fact you had an explainer from me and my BBC News colleagues with the fact you had Jeremy Bowen to that that would be seen as being a statement that the BBC was doing something different to what it done with previous killerton events.

I think what we were trying to do is do a factory look out and I think that's very important and we were playing it when it before what it was in and how it is and why was here and the explanation of why you know one of the smallest the smallest country ever to host the World Cup under tiny little country, but I think the principal motivation of it really was the fact that there was corruption involved in it proven another is I think 11 of the committee members of FIFA of find indicted or banned from football.

We should also say the people said its own.

Which found that the votes were important that Qatar says, it's done nothing wrong all the way through it Help Me Understand so how you as a football presenter and sports presenter and BBC Sport generally these things so for example when you're presenting Match of the Day on BBC one.

You'll be introducing games so featuring Newcastle Newcastle is backed by lot of money from Saudi Arabia there a big human rights questions about Saudi Arabia should you be putting quick explainers into Match of the Day about that? How do you judge with it with Jade we did who did Ross we did that but obviously and remember Alan Shearer on air about these things and how the fact that you know he felt comfortable out who the owners are we don't get the choice in that does he still support Newcastle yes, he does obviously we've had it with Manchester City we have discussed these States and with with always try to do that.

I saw the people saying that why didn't the BBC I was involved I don't do the Olympics apart from

When it was in London why did the BBC not do the same thing around China well yesterday? Did he didn't go so noticed? I don't think for some reason but they use I think we've the BBC show the opening ceremony didn't have the Olympics but you're making a big election the BBC always shows the opening ceremony of the Olympic games.

They never ever show on BBC the opening ceremony of football tournaments.

It's never been a saying and I think that's why people have got misled on this because they're not a big thing it's like a 1520 minute thing that they do in the background occasionally we might have slipped out to it to show a little tiny statement of the 30 seconds or something which we did just before we would do anything to the studio so that you know that's how it's always been that was not a difference in this world cup or indeed European Championships it's never been a understand how this works then with.

Sport and within the Match of the Day set up if you were covering a tournament or a match would it be standard that you would have a discussion are there dimensions to this beyond the sport that we should cover that happened.

Wherever the game was what not every game that we do not necessarily every game that you do but every country in different ways has human rights questions again.

Stayed there are absolutely that was my sort of my point about the fact that our customers and we had these things going into every tournament and I can remember on many occasions having discussions about the issues within countries like we did in Brazil with with the demonstrations on the streets.

It's not a first it was probably have done a bit but you haven't I've never seen you deliver a monologue like that at the start of some coverage.

You won't styling a tonne of it was much more serious than anything.

Yeah, I think I was there in the room in 2010 and I know it's stuck at the time and I think I think I was spoken out decision by in obviously.

Have you want to BBC Sport and these things are your thoughts through a lot wasn't just me that's for sure you'll have to talk.

So it was it was a little bit different because the difference is not the necessary the human rights and I think you know every country has different things and different developments and their different different cultures and things are viewed in different ways, but the difference with this one was that you know that corruption side of it that was the Difference and that's why I felt it was important to stress it had even you clearly feel that very passionately even though that FIFA investigation is not found at the votes were sold and even though.

The says throughout it's not done anything wrong.


I think you just said it.

They didn't hear it was at FIFA investigation.

Can I ask you a couple of questions now before I let you go about the next few weeks.

So how do you say a couple of times on air on Twitter you're there to report not to promote but how able are you to do that? How able are you to move around to look at whatever you would like to look at to talk about whatever you talk about it.

I've not noticed any problem at all.

So far.

We've been through to walk around the country.

Go that people you lots and lots of nice people and everyone very welcome as you would expect so yeah that there's no restraint on on what we don't think we've been pressure from anyone about what we should speak about and that's been the same in other World Cups have been we've had nothing from no complaints from FIFA either.

And in terms of the sport, we just we just talking now after Saudi Arabia playing this incredible victory against Argentina as you go forward with the coverage on the BBC will you be dialling down differences to the broader issues having Mark them at the beginning of the tournament or do you imagine you'll keep coming back to them? I don't like that will come back to them to too much.

I think I made the point at the beginning of a lot of people seeing things to do over well.

Maybe I think in favour of that obviously other people have different.

It's The Usual Suspects that have those views that don't complain about licence fee all those sort of things and have done Trevor goodbye large.

I think it was very well received.

I think it was fair.

I honestly do I don't think we will particularly hard on guitar.

I think we just spell axe.

Only just one question about where the line is on a sporting event you would be willing to cover I remember a few years ago and BBC cricket reporter Pat Murphy of it was your know very well any number of shows you posted on 5 Live he said I'm not going to see by the way the Robert mugabe's government at the moment is behaving I'm not going on a tour to cover that because I just don't think it's appropriate there ever be a situation where a World Cup was somewhere or where a football match was somewhere where you thought actually the risk of Sport washing is too great here.

I'm not going to be part of it.

I wish we spoke a lot of a great deal of time talking Tom the international about coming here and obviously you think about those things but they say sport washing works when you don't address the issues when you when you go quiet now.

I'm not head support the World Cup against report it.

I'm not.

Taking any Qatari money at any way shape or form at all, but I did so yeah.

I think we're just doing a job and sometimes your job send you two places that perhaps you'd prefer just a bit more because I know that you said you're not get any money from Qatar to be out there clearly some very high profile broadcasters from the UK have have done pundits presenters and so on do you think that was a mistake for Gary Neville in particular to to do that.

I think that's his personal decision.

It is it's very easy to be judgemental everybody and we're also judgemental these days.

I would have done it now and I haven't done it, but it said his life.

He wants he wants to do.

And that was Gary Lineker speaking to me a little earlier well, let's discuss some of the points that he's raised Eamonn Madine is host of Eamonn and afternoon you show on my PC and it's great to have you on the media show invited you want because you've written about Western coverage of the World Cup and also used to live in Doha is that right? That's ok.

What will hear more from you in a moment? That's also bring in Roger Mosey former head of Sport of the BBC also former head of BBC TV news now master of Selwyn College Cambridge University what TV show Roger good afternoon well, let me start with you.

Do you think the the BBC made the right decisions around its approach to that first programme of its coverage? So there's no and in my opinion having just heard Gary Lineker offers explanation that the BBC generally does not broadcast the opening.

Broadcast broadcast that I can speak to that specifically but I think to the point that you brought up with him which was very valid is the fact that they decided then to open World Cup with this hour longer however long monologue really focusing on the human rights abuses against migraines the lgbtq to a whole host of other issues in making that editorial decision they shifted the conversation away from the being about sports to a broader conversation and I think then that gives us an entry point into the very important conversation about how is the west generally covering this morning about how do you properly contextualize it? How do you provide a nuanced do it within the hour? They had very serious news coverage from people the BBC news international to Jeremy Bowen but they also did talk about the football.

It was it was a mix and is it not appropriate to have a mix at the beginning of a tournament in a country such as Qatar

Who are the issues surrounding it 100% it is appropriate and I want to be very clear about that.

I think you should have these conversations, but you have to have this conversation fairly not just on the level that BBC experts and decision-makers.

Think is appropriate when you open a program with a conversation about politics and human rights great stuff like that consistently across the board.

You must allow the conversation to go beyond just what the BBC at this particular point think is appropriate and bring you in on that this is one critic.

We've heard this was inconsistent from the BBC interview as wise and sensible about the really difficult editor of choices.

I think what he also said was probably BBC Sport was disproportionately light on Russia and probably on China for the winter olympics and therefore has come across.

Maybe as disproportionately heavy on Qatar

I think you have to be consistent.

I think I think it was also say that the Sports coverage of Human Rights issues on wood dial down a bit about the BBC is it has a news division and a sports division and I take your order of passion by that uses good at covering use support is good covering sport in sexual them if they don't intermingle too much so I think it's also propria.

You can't start the tournament in Qatar we had at least some reference to the controversies have gone off but if someone is work for BBC News BBC Sport you sure you haven't can you think of an example where it's gone about things like this at the beginning of a major international sporting event.

I can't in Beijing in 2008 for the Summer Olympics we made a deliberate decision to put huw Edwards onto the commentary and the presentation of the opening ceremony with Carrie Gracie who's in the Beijing

As one of the expert commentators precisely because China was controversial and difficult probably not about time quite as controversial as it has become I think sometimes you do make a decision by a bit like you being in the Castle opening ceremony.

We use the news responds to give the proper context there and it was different this time as they went more into the sport production with that as I say, I think that's ok to a limited degree and shouldn't be taken to father news is a better vehicle before I bring you back in I should say we did ask if the BBC would like to take part in the live discussion points towards a statement which reads just like previous tournaments.

We haven't shown the opening ceremony on BBC One full build up and coverage of the World Cup has been available across the BBC including the opening ceremony on iPlayer on with you.

Explore the broader point that you're trying to make here which is that you feel cut out as being covered in a way that other country.

Would not be covered tell me understand a bit better, so I think there's three buckets of this conversation here one is what I would call the Prejudice that's in the language.

That is used to describe this morning about there is a full sleeping narrative around Gary Lineker talk about the language of Qatar is Tiny and question when I deserve it.

I'm hosting a global event and I think he has a population of 3 million it is it is a small country by that measuring in the measures of it if it's physical size 2, what if you took a purely geographical of course.

I might think he's implying that it's deservedness is connected to it size and I think that's where people sometimes again question the language.

That is used in the way the west is describing this oil rich country again it is factual, but what is implicit in this statement? Is that simply because it has the oil and because it is typing because it's using its natural resource.

Development that is undeserving of a global event of this variable magnitude.

That's where language matters.

I think I know the difference between implicit and explicit bias.

Nearest performative moral outrage on some of the recorded BBC reporter wearing a rainbow armband standing on the sidelines of the clear.

I think that's ok that she's doing express yourself.

I wonder if he BBC Sports reporter would have expressed solidarity with a Muslims in China so that was Alex got his part of the BBC Sport team in casserole, what did you make that decision to Alex got to wear that and presumably to wear it with the agreement of her editors and producers well.

I think Alex is great and I can understand why she wanted to do it.

I think it was a mistake by the BBC because as soon as you let the presenter or report a paid by the BBC where some sort of campaigning Insignia however well-intentioned in that case you.

Wholesale presidents about people wearing a charity logos or campaigning logos for a whole set of other things so I think the only centerpieces should not have a loud song which it is there isn't there are no two sides that this is something that someone on their should be able to express.

Yes, but would you have an armband for Iran or Cancer Research take the charity great and I do not have an armband supporting anything on this program and I think that's right.

You are impartial and once you start red one armband you can wear any number and it's not a greater Detroit idea.

I need to you a man.

Do you have a position on simply when you should fit into sport generally do you think sport is escapism for all of us and regardless of where it's taking place the new should stick to wear the news.

And leave the the action alone for the fans to enjoy the reflection of life life is complicated and life is life is at the intersection of politics in decisions and controversies what I have an issue with is when we cherry-pick.

What is acceptable and when to use sport as a fat woman people sometimes say let's just keep up with the UK so I actually come down from the perspective of I believe the calendar and decided to take a knee during the National Express himself.

I also believe that soccer at Leeds in Europe 21 Express solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza have a right to express themselves and I believe that athletes in Europe who won aware a rainbow armband that are have a right to express themselves what I think is problematic as Roger was just explaining public broadcaster and you start cherry-picking which causes you want to support your

Stop to criticism and inconsistency which I think are people in the rest of the world are saying hey you are being hypocritical.

Thank you very much indeed for your time today.

That's a mocha Jean host of Eamonn on MSNBC the cable News Network in the US thanks.

Also to Roger Mosey former head of Sport at the BBC and former head of BBC TV news now listen to BBC news on the Zoe want to talk to you about Twitter and about Elon Musk and Elon Musk has been claiming has knew that the World Cup is is driving even greater traffic on Twitter he has his been very pretty he saying you know this is the place to see some people actually weather Twitter would be able to come you're only with the extra traffic and but also with the extra hate speech unfortunately which always accompanies these presents and he has cut down on moderation.

He says you know he was.

Free the platform up and people were very concerned that was going to me but more hate speech would be around on Twitter especially during the time of the World Cup so far.

I have to say I think we've seen in the bike, but there was a study which followed 100 racially offensive tweets, which arrange a particular players and it sounds only one of them was taking down even though they all been flags to Twitter for content moderation dimension to this mask fit a story another one is simply whether it might keel over I keep seeing people on my Twitter feed I'm speculating about whether it will just hold up technically and I don't really understand.

What that what that means if Twitter was 2 kg over because of a lack of engineers, how would that even happen and do you think that's likely people keep asking me about it.

I think I think we can have all enjoy it because you know it sort of feels like it won't stop the status luck.

Nobody really got there and the bowl and half of the staff of left and the other half at cleaning on and being told they got to work.

He wants to be that I don't think it's going to fall over anytime soon.

I think it's a very robust platform.

You got a bear in mind.

It's got around 300 million monthly users you know it's not held together by string.

What is important is the maintenance to keep that robustness going and that is in in terms of cybersecurity.

You know that will be taxed all the time the defences.

I've got to be up that be monitored constantly and there's also routine maintenance.

You know that exists on massive computers called servers stuff gets migration between and they get maintain they get switched on and off point of weakness if you're not supervising it properly and I do know lots and lots of people have left but I think it's a bit just letting it will go and I wanted to ask you about people leaving because it seems to me like it might be different people are going in different directions and while I'm not suggesting everyone's Gonna Leave Twitter suddenly are we looking at a situation where you may have a more decentralised social media.

Set up with different types of people end up in different places something happens that people don't like everyone to leave and actually that you get the football that you expect and it does seem to be some kind of change going on.

I think within the people are certainly hedging their bets thought they are we seeing someone that's why I kind of this is the way social media again January actually if you look at things like Facebook has become much more community Focus you know it's encouraging people to setup smaller more private groups WhatsApp groups community Focus thing.

I think I think was seeing a shift generally from a big public digital Square if you like that with likes the Twitter to be into this kind of small local more and more specific community lad lamb and I think I'm not sure how long he's going to be able to find that but it will be interesting to see what front runners in mad because I think.

How much more homegrown and don't have the resources that big fan light switch used to notice the difference of they are just not easy you play climb in the BBC's technology editor you can read her analysis of the situation at Twitter on the BBC News website to thanks to Zoe thanks, Eamon McLean from MSNBC thanks to to Roger Moore Selwyn College Cambridge University and thanks.

Also to our first guess Gary Lineker who was speaking to me from Castle that's it for this edition of the media show thanks very much indeed.

Speak to you soon.


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