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David Beckham Responds to Criticism as Qatar World Cup Ambassador

David Beckham

Homosexuality is illegal in the country and punishable by up to three years in prison.


It's been a rough time for LGBTQ+ fans of soccer. This year's World Cup is currently being hosted by Qatar, a Middle Eastern country where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison, alongside other human rights issues.

The World Cup's location has led to a flurry of protests and celebrity call-outs of those involved in the event. Some queer people didn't even feel comfortable entering the country and avoided the cup completely this year. If the organization and celebrities agree to be a part of the World Cup, are they consigning Qatar's dangerous stance on important human rights issues?

Many fans think so, including British comedian Joe Lycett who said he'd shred PS10,000 if Beckham ignored his call to step down from the Qatar tournament. "You're the first Premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like Attitude, to speak openly about your gay fans," he said. "Now, it's 2022. And you signed a reported PS10 million deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the FIFA World Cup."

That deadline passed almost a month ago and Lycett appeared to shred the money on camera. However, he later claimed that it was fake and he donated the cash to LGBTQ+ charities.

After a stretch of silence on the topic, Beckham's spokesperson finally gave CNN a statement on his thoughts about the topic earlier today.

"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," it read.

"We hope that these conversations will lead to greater understanding and empathy towards all people and that progress will be achieved. 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."

The World Cup ends this Sunday with the final match between Argentina and France.

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Pop culture nerd. Lives for drama. Obsessed with Beyonce's womb. Tweets way too much.

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