Gary Lineker has fashioned himself into a speakerphone for the liberal sensibilities that are increasingly marginalised in a world of increasing xenophobic, homophobic and class oppression.
He is often seen tweeting – as is the trend for celebrities looking to make a discernible impact – about recent outrages, crippling inequality and, more importantly, the hypocrisy of FIFA.
Lineker has not be shy in condemning an organisation fuelled by corporate greed – a body still seeking to purge itself of the toxins that allegedly colluded to hand Russia and Qatar the next World Cup.
Surely not Gary, one of the people?
The public had vociferously defended him when he was attacked by the Daily Mail last year for his tweets regarding the refugee crisis; the public had encouraged his rebellious, morally-saturated opinions; the public had warmed to the Match of the Day presenter. He was not another figure in the media elite, he was truly one of the people.
Marry this alongside his protests regarding FIFA, and I’m extremely disappointed that the ex-Barcelona striker accepted the gig. A gig, which presumably, will reward him handsomely.
After all, Russia is home to rife homophobia. Gay English fans have been warned not to hold hands in the street, a shameful piece of advice, even though it is probably sound in protecting the fans. Russia is also home to racism – there have been a plethora of examples where Black footballers have been abused during games.
Qatar, too, which will host the 2020 World Cup is criminally uncivilised. They still treat homosexuality as illegal; they have a state-funded quasi-slave trade in operation. Scrap quasi, it is modern day slavery. Workers die building the stadiums the world’s elite will play in.
FIFA’s awarding of the World Cup to these two nations is unpardonable and an unequivocal disgrace.
“If Blatter had still been in charge, I would not have done it”, was Lineker’s excuse. It is besides the point who is charge, the destinations of the World Cup have already been chosen, the damage to football’s reputation already done.
Lineker presenting the draws acts as a cloak of legitimacy; it is a quiet endorsement and it’s thoroughly disappointing given his record in defending the poor, the vulnerable and rightly calling out the corrupt and criminal.
Written by Michael Jones
Follow Michael on Twitter @jonesmichael_97
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