David Beckham responds to criticism over $272 million Qatar deal
David Beckham has defended his $272 million deal with Qatar, which involves being the face of the World Cup finals, saying football “has the power to be a force for good”.
The 47-year-old former England captain is employed by the host nation to promote the FIFA World Cup, as well as a wider 10-year deal to spruik tourism in the gulf country. He was part of Qatar’s tourism campaign for months leading into the tournament.
READ MORE: ‘History to repeat’ as Dragons bank on boom twins
READ MORE: Bankrupt tennis legend released from prison
READ MORE: Punted Schumacher secures new F1 deal
It’s understood Beckham pocketed $17 million for the World Cup period alone, but his presence and promotion of a nation that rules homosexuality to be illegal, has caused an uproar among football fans in England, especially given Beckham’s standing as an icon within the gay community.
“For Beckham to accept the money, without in any way acknowledging his past statements, his support for LGBTI+ community, or the actual issue as it’s live today in Qatar, is really disgraceful,” Australian football great turned leading social justice warrior Craig Foster recently told Wide World of Sports.
In response to recent criticism, a spokesperson for the former England captain said:
“David has been involved in a number of World Cups and other major international tournaments both as a player and an ambassador and he has always believed that sport has the power to be a force for good in the world.
“Football, the most popular sport globally, has a genuine ability to bring people together and make a real contribution to communities.
“We understand that there are different and strongly held views about engagement in the Middle East but see it as positive that debate about the key issues has been stimulated directly by the first World Cup being held in the region.
“We hope that these conversations will lead to greater understanding and empathy towards all people and that progress will be achieved.”
English comedian Joe Lycett appeared to shred $17,000 in protest at Beckham’s role last month. Lycett has subsequently confirmed the money wasn’t shredded, and was donated to a LGBTQ+ charity.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
#David #Beckham #responds #criticism #million #Qatar #deal