David Beckham slammed by LGBTQ+ fan group for Qatar ambassadorship
David Beckham, the former captain of the England national football team, came under fire from the leader of an LGBTQ+ fan group on Wednesday over his decision to accept a job as Qatar’s paid Cup ambassador. of soccer world 2022.
Di Cunningham, co-founder of Three Lions Pride, spoke about Beckham’s paid World Cup role in a webinar hosted by the Sports and Rights Alliance.
“We’re so disappointed because the LGBTQ+ community has had David Beckham on a pedestal as a great ally and then it turns out he’s an ambassador for this World Cup and that’s incredibly disappointing,” he said. she declared. “So hopefully the message got through that people will be criticized for this.”
Same-sex “sexual conduct” between men is criminalized in Qatar under Sharia law, but a senior football official in the country has previously assured LGBTQ+ fans that they will be safe and welcome to attend the international competition. However, Qatar’s World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman sparked controversy earlier this week when he called homosexuality a ‘damage to the mind’ during an interview with a TV channel German.
Last year, several news outlets in the UK reported that Beckham had signed a ten-year deal with Qatar to be a face of football there. The deal is said to be worth around $175 million.
Cunningham also told the Sports and Rights Alliance conference that she did not believe the assurances from FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Qatar’s Supreme Committee on Environmental Safety for all fans were accurate. She added that Three Lions Pride would not travel to attend the games.
“We’re hearing what seems like some kind of robotic insistence that everything will be fine, that we’ll be safe, that we’ll be welcome, but that’s not supported by documented evidence or plans,” Cunningham said.
Last month, Human Rights Watch released a report accusing Qatar of “arbitrarily” arresting and abusing LGBTQ+ people in recent years. HRW said it uncovered six cases of LGBTQ+ people being subjected to “severe and repeated” beatings as well as five cases of sexual harassment in police custody between 2019 and 2022.
“As Qatar prepares to host the World Cup, security forces are detaining and abusing LGBT people simply for who they are, apparently believing that security force abuses will go unreported and unchecked,” he said. said Rasha Younes, LGBT rights researcher at HRW. report. “Qatari authorities must end impunity for violence against LGBT people. The world is watching.”
Newsweek contacted Beckham for comment.