The 2022 World Cup has been met with much controversy over the decision to hold the tournament in Qatar due to the country’s track record with human rights, particularly with regard to migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ+ community.
Homosexuality is illegal in the Middle Eastern country, and could lead to seven years in prison, with sexual activity between men potentially resulting in the death penalty
Reports have also claimed that thousands of migrant workers died in Qatar in the lead-up to this year’s World Cup.
During a debate on Monday’s edition of Loose Women, Coleen was asked whether she’d be watching coverage of the tournament, stating: “Yes. I’m quite sad that we’re here today, because it starts while we’re on air. You may not see me in part two.”
She added: “I don’t agree with some of [Qatar’s] policies, but it’s their culture… the same way that when they come over here to play football, they don’t agree with what we believe in, people have a right to believe in what they believe in.
“I just hate the way that everyone thinks they’re a politician now. Every one of us all think we can do better. And I just want to watch football.”
After footage of Coleen’s comments were widely shared on social media, John had his say on his Instagram story on Wednesday evening.
“I’m just going to address something that’s been kind of knocked around and it’s started to really P– me off, especially by Coleen Nolan on Loose Women,” the former Great British Bake Off winner told his followers.
“She said, ‘when they come to our country they respect our values, our culture and our traditions, so we should do the same in their country’.
“The point of difference, Coleen and agreeable people, is that we don’t put people in prison for their sexuality, or potentially put people to death for their sexuality. We don’t allow 6,500 migrant workers to die… like they do in Qatar.
“So, that’s the point of difference. It’s fighting a lack of liberty with our power and our liberties that we have here. It’s using our liberty as a voice for those who don’t have liberty. So there’s a huge difference.”
John continued: “Also, this is against the backdrop of football. On both the Fifa website and the FA website, there are whole paragraphs – monologues, if you will – about the importance of diversity and representation and being brave about showing the true spectrum of humanity.
“But when money’s involved and the deal goes to Qatar, that whole policy is null and void. And that’s the point. Football is trying to be progressive and inclusive, and stamp out misogyny, bigotry, homophobia and racism, but as soon as money’s involved – big money – that ambition is dead in the water.”
In a follow-up post, John also addressed a recent argument put forward by Piers Morgan, who he branded an “idiot”.
“Another argument that’s being branded, particularly by Piers Morgan – don’t even get me started on that one – is that there are eight teams within the World Cup which are from countries where it is illegal to be gay, trans, bi, LGBTQI+ generally,” John said.
“And he’s saying, ‘why don’t we shout about them, then? Aren’t we hypocritical to shout about Qatar and not about these countries from which these teams come?’.
“Well, teams do not enforce laws and judicial systems, countries do…Teams might be made up of people who abhor the laws of their country and the [oppression] and the constraint of liberty, so you can’t say a team is the same as a country. Idiot.”
John has recently been vocal about David Beckham’s controversial decision to accept an ambassador role for Qatar during the World Cup, which is reported to be worth as much as £10 million.
“I think he has the power to make great change in this world. Millions if not billions of eyes are on him, and he’s making the wrong step right now.
“As someone with so much power and money, he has a chance to really, literally change lives, and he’s doing the exact opposite. Shame on him.”