Gary Lineker hits back as fans blast BBC for not screening World Cup

World Cup: Gary Lineker's opening remarks for BBC coverage

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Gary Lineker, 61, defended the BBC as confused fans went to Twitter questioning why the Women’s Super League was being shown instead of the World Cup opening ceremony. The broadcaster took it upon himself to correct claims that it wasn’t being shown at all, but apologised after speaking too soon. 

Football writer Grace Robertson wrote on Twitter amid the confusion this afternoon: “BBC just decided to ignore the opening ceremony entirely. 

“Partly just because they were showing the WSL until 5 minutes ago, but they’ve been straight into a basic overview of the Qatar talking points.”

Jumping into the fray, Gary blasted the tweet saying it was simply “not true”. 

He explained that the entire opening ceremony was being broadcast live on BBC iPlayer instead of BBC One. 

Gary wrote: “The timing of the opening ceremony was changed to an earlier time very recently and WSL was already confirmed on BBC One. 

“If you wanted to watch it, you could.”

While Gary’s tweet offered an explanation for some, Grace pointed out to the broadcaster that she had already corrected herself, just below the tweet he had replied to. 

Gary responded: “Apologies, hadn’t seen your correction. 

“Worth pointing out nevertheless.”

Gary is currently leading the BBC’s coverage of the controversial World Cup which started today. 

Discussions of the tournament have largely been dominated by the socio-economic issues in the country rather than the sport. 

Qatar and Ecuador faced off in the first match of the World Cup, and Gary’s opening monologue for the match highlighted the hot topics off the pitch. 

He described the World Cup as “the most controversial in history and a ball has not yet been kicked”. 

Gary noted that “the smallest nation” to host the competition has “faced some big questions”. 

He continued: “From accusations of corruption in the bidding process to the treatment of migrant workers who built the stadiums, where many lost their lives.

“Homosexuality is illegal (in Qatar). Women’s rights and freedom of expression are in the spotlight.

“Also, the decision six years ago to switch the tournament from summer to winter. 

 “Against that backdrop, there’s a tournament to be played. One that will be watched and enjoyed around the world.”

He also revealed that Fifa had advised him to “stick to football” which he agreed to do “for a couple of minutes at least”. 

Ultimately Ecuador won the match with a score of 2-0 and will be playing the Netherlands on Friday, November 25.

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