Gary Neville isn’t facing punishment over his comments. (Picture: Dave Shopland/Shutterstock)
The football pundit made the comments on ITV during the World Cup as he reflected on Qatar facing heavy criticism over working conditions which saw a number of people die on construction projects for the tournament.
‘We should detest low pay, we should detest poor accommodation and working conditions,’ he said. ‘We can never accept that in this region or any other region – and it is just worth mentioning we’ve got a government in our country that are demonising rail workers, ambulance workers and terrifyingly nurses.
‘We can’t have people being paid an absolute pittance to work, we can’t have people in accommodation that is unsavoury and disgusting.
‘It shouldn’t happen here [in Qatar] … with the wealth that exists. But it shouldn’t happen with the nurses in our country either where our nurses are having to fight for an extra pound or two pounds.’
Hundreds of people complained to Ofcom about the comments, with the watchdog noting that 705 got in touch to register their displeasure.
In their report, Ofcom added: ‘We considered these complaints against our broadcasting rules. In our view, the live, brief and unscripted remarks about industrial relations in the UK came amidst a wider discussion about the policies and actions of the Qatari Government, which gave due weight to a range of views.
‘So, we will not be pursuing these complaints further.’
The organisation also reminded the broadcaster of the need to remain balanced and impartial.
They added: ‘However, we have issued guidance to ITV reminding them of their due impartiality obligations. ITV has assured us that presenters and studio guests will be reminded of these rules.’
The initial comments sparked backlash online, and ITV noted at the time that Neville was sharing his ‘own personal views’, not those of the broadcaster.
An channel spokesman said: ‘Gary Neville was expressing his own personal views in the context of a discussion about the treatment of workers in Qatar within a live broadcast.
‘His views are his own and were not endorsed by ITV.’
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World Cup 2022: your FAQs answered
He compared the treatment of nurses in the UK to migrant workers.