Piers Morgan: BBC 'disrespectful' for not airing Qatar World Cup opening ceremony

Piers Morgan
Piers Morgan has criticised the BBC for not airing the Qatar World Cup opening ceremony. (TalkTV)

Piers Morgan has called the BBC "outrageously disrespectful" for not airing the World Cup opening ceremony, accusing them of virtue signalling and hypocrisy.

The former Good Morning Britain presenter criticised the broadcaster's decision not to televise live the ceremony for the 2022 FIFA football tournament from Qatar, a country which has attracted controversy over its human rights abuses.

Morgan tweeted: "Outrageously disrespectful to Qatar that the BBC didn’t broadcast the World Cup opening ceremony, and instead put out more virtue-signalling guff about how awful it is. If they’re that appalled, they should bring home their vast army of employees & spare us this absurd hypocrisy.

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He added: "Where was all this BBC moral outage at the Russia World Cup? And will you be doing it at the next one in USA, re guns/abortion etc? Or is just Arab countries/culture that trouble you?"

Read more: Alex Scott defends covering Qatar World Cup: I love my job

A BBC spokesperson said: "Full build up and coverage of the World Cup has been available across the BBC, including the opening ceremony on iPlayer."

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The TalkTV presenter also accused England captain Harry Kane of virtue signalling, following reports he plans to wear the OneLove rainbow armband, expressing solidarity with marginalised communities including the criminalised gay community.

Morgan said: "I hope we’re putting as much energy into practising penalties as we are into signalling our virtue…"

Fifa has said Kane faces sporting sanctions if he wears the armband to England's first match against Iran, meaning he could receive an automatic yellow card.

Gary Lineker presenting for BBC Sport
Gary Lineker addressed the controversies in Qatar as he opened the BBC coverage of the World Cup. (Getty Images)

Some have called for a boycott of the football event after Fifa awarded the hosting to Qatar, in spite of the country's human rights abuses of gay people, women and migrant workers.

Gary Lineker opened the BBC's coverage of the Qatar World Cup by highlighting some of the issues - including the nation's human rights record, treatment of migrant workers and highlighting the ban on homosexuality.

He said: "It's the most controversial World Cup in history and a ball hasn't been kicked. Ever since Fifa chose Qatar back in 2010, the smallest nation to have hosted football's greatest competition has faced some big questions.

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

Alex Scott presenting for BBC Sport.
Alex Scott defended not boycotting the tournament in Qatar. (Getty Images)

"Homosexuality is illegal here, women's rights and freedom of expression are in the spotlight, also the decision six years ago to switch the World Cup from summer to winter."

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And sports pundit Alex Scott defended her decision to take part in the coverage, saying that boycotting the event would have been the easy option.