Alex Scott is at the World Cup in Qatar challenging a regime that treats women as second-class citizens

Alex Scott does not deserve our censure for making the decision to travel to Qatar to do a report for the BBC. She does not deserve contempt. She doesn’t deserve the cynicism. She’s soaked in all of that stuff because some people want to silence voices like hers, voices that make inappropriate comments about FIFA and its decision to host the World Cup in a country that treats women as second-class citizens and gay women. like criminals.

So Scott doesn’t deserve criticism. She deserves our admiration for having the courage to travel to Qatar to work at the BBC and continue doing a job that she loves and has earned on her own merits. At this men’s World Cup in particular, it’s more vital than ever to have top-tier female broadcasters reporting on the sport and on the issues.

It’s more important than ever that great presenters, commentators and reporters like Talksport’s Faye Carruthers, Laura Woods, Natalie Sawyer and Lianne Sanderson are here. It is more important than ever that admired professionals like the BBC’s Natalie Pirks, Vicki Sparks, Robyn Cowen and Emma Saunders are at this World Cup. It’s great to see another trailblazer, Jacqui Oatley, here working for Fox.

The presence of these women in this World Cup is not in support of a regime like Qatar. They are here to challenge you. So the people who call Scott a hypocrite don’t know what the word means. Hypocrite is the word people now use when someone expresses an opinion they don’t agree with. Hypocrite is the word they use as a prelude to some nonsense. Scott is the opposite of a hypocrite.

She defends her principles and defends the right to be who she is. She has recently spoken about having been in a same-sex relationship in the past and refuses to be intimidated by a state that criminalizes same-sex relationships. She also, to her credit, refuses to pander to the psychological stupidity of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who claimed Saturday that she identifies with gay people.

“You’re not gay,” Scott said, responding to Infantino’s comments as he took his place on the BBC panel ahead of the World Cup opening match between Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday night. “You will not understand traveling to a country where you fear for your life because of your preference of who you choose to love.”

It was refreshing to hear Scott speak so boldly at the start of the BBC’s coverage, which, led by Gary Lineker, did not shy away from confronting the fact that this tournament is taking place in a country that has been widely criticized for its human rights record. . and where hundreds, perhaps thousands, of migrant workers are believed to have died during the construction of the World Cup infrastructure.

Alex Scott deserves our admiration for having the courage to travel to Qatar to work at the BBC and continue doing a job he loves and has earned on merit.

Alex Scott deserves our admiration for having the courage to travel to Qatar to work at the BBC and continue doing a job he loves and has earned on merit.

The presence of some superb reporters, presenters and commentators at this World Cup, such as Pien Meulensteen (left) and Laura Woods (right), does not support a regime like Qatar: they are here to challenge it.

The BBC’s refusal to shy away from the issues was a harsh coverage of the supine coverage offered by Fox Sports in the US. Qatar Airways is a major sponsor of their coverage and it showed. In the United States, the BBC’s introduction to the tournament was held up by many as an example to embarrass their own World Cup announcer.

The criticism of Lineker, Scott and other pundits here for the BBC is baffling. They are here to do their job as anchors and reporters. The idea that being here for a foreign organization and reporting in an impartial and often critical manner suggests support for the regime is absurd.

It was also heartening to hear Scott mention the emptiness of the continued affirmation that Infantino feeds us, and that we were fed again by the simplistic message at the Opening Ceremony, that this is a tournament that is uniting people from all over the world.

Scott does not deserve to be called a hypocrite for choosing to work in Qatar – she stands up for her principles and stands up for the right to be who she is, the opposite of a hypocrite.

It’s hard to seriously promote that message when the laws of the host nation would put an entire section of the world community behind bars just for who they are.

“Keep saying football is for everyone,” Scott said, “that’s what you keep feeding us.” But it is not like that, because people have not been able to travel to support their teams out of fear, so it cannot be said that football is for everyone.

‘When you sit down and have conversations, I’ve had conversations about I should be staying home, I should be boycotting, and I think personally that would be the easiest option to do just that.

Gianni Infantino’s words that this is a World Cup that unites people are full of emptiness

The criticism of the experts who are in Qatar for the BBC is baffling: they are here to do their job as presenters and reporters.

“I’m here because I love my job and when I think about it, sitting here and having more difficult conversations, and it’s bigger, isn’t it? We’re talking about migrant workers, the LGBTQ+ community, women’s rights.”

Scott was right to fly to Doha to do his job. His presence here, his willingness to speak his mind, his pride in who he is, are victories against a repressive state and an organization, FIFA, so in thrall to its Qatari paymasters that it is doing everything it can to deter captains from various countries. including England to wear a OneLove bracelet.

It is to the credit of the BBC that Scott, Lineker and Alan Shearer have been given the platform to speak. They used it well.