Former England international and ITV pundit Ian Wright has given an emotional on-air monologue about his “mixed feelings” covering the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The 59-year-old joined the field in Qatar as he opened up about his feelings towards performing in the Middle East as the World Cup kicked off on Sunday.
The host nation has been racked by investigations into the migration crisis that has led to the deaths of workers during the construction of World Cup venues, including stadiums across Qatar.
Qatari officials have claimed that only three workers are killed during World Cup preparations, but independent sources cite a figure of 6,000 deaths.
Wright explained how a tour of Doha upon arriving in the host nation for the start of the tournament reminded him of the “families that have been destroyed” by the deaths of the victims and criticized the government for its lack of “compensation”.
Wright said: ‘[I feel] very confrontational if I’m being totally honest. When I arrived at the airport on Saturday, seeing the fans chanting, you started to feel what was going to happen.
The World Cup in Qatar kicked off with a glamorous opening ceremony on Sunday night.
Independent sources have cited that 6,000 migrant workers died during the construction of stadiums in Qatar.
Glamorous multi-million dollar stadiums have cost the lives of workers in the host nation
Then you just have to stop because you know what happened, you’ve seen the cities and how fast they were built and you know people have died building those stadiums.
‘Then you think about the families, lives destroyed, families destroyed, and then you think about the compensation, the lack of commitment to the victims.
The former England star is hoping to see the Three Lions lift the World Cup under manager Gareth Southgate in the Middle East. But he warned the UK not to ‘point the finger’ when making comparisons between Qatar and the Windrush crisis.
Wright admitted he feels ‘very conflicted’ about working in Qatar covering the World Cup
Wright hopes to see England’s young stars lift the World Cup in Qatar
Wright added: “So I think about it and I have to think about my home country, you think about the Windrush generation and the fact that 80% of them don’t get paid and people have died waiting.”
“When you’re pointing fingers, you’re pointing fingers at yourself, but at the same time all you want for these people is for them to be compensated and get the justice they deserve.
Other controversial talking points ahead of Sunday’s grand opening in Qatar have centered on the safety of LGBT+ supporters attending the host country.
Homosexuality remains illegal in Qatar, and Wright describes the situation as “very sad.”
Thousands of supporters packed the Al Bayt Stadium for the opening match.
‘(On the illegality of homosexuality) It’s very sad. We are talking about a regime of people who have said that everyone is welcome, football is for everyone.
‘But the guarantees that they have given, we must hope that they can honor them because it is a sad situation for people who want to come and do not feel safe. Time will tell.
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