David Beckham called out by comedian over Qatar World Cup deal

Pictured left to right, British comedian Joe Lycett and football icon David Beckham.
British comedian Joe Lycett has issued a challenge on social media for David Beckham to tear up his multi-million dollar World Cup deal with Qatar. Pic: Twitter/Getty

A British comedian is being hailed around the world after calling out football great David Beckham over his multi-million dollar partnership with the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Manchester United and England legend signed on to be the face of the Qatar showpiece, which gets underway on Monday, November 21 (AEDT).

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Qatar has been widely criticised for its human rights record, with discrimination against women and homosexuals among the numerous issues coming under the world's microscope in the lead-up to the tournament.

Speaking about Beckham's involvement with Qatar and the football icon's standing in the gay community, British comedian and TV presenter Joe Lycett challenged the England and Manchester United legend to pull the pin on his £10million ($AUD17.5 million) deal as a sign of support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Seen here, Football icon David Beckham appears in Doha ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Football icon David Beckham has signed on to be one of the faces of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Pic: Getty

In a video shared on social media which has since gone viral, Lycett said he would destroy £10,000 and 'remove David Beckham's gay icon status' if the football great didn't back out of his partnership with Qatar.

"This is a message to David Beckham. I consider you, along with Kim Woodburn and Monty Don, to be a gay icon. You're the first premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like Attitude, to speak openly about your gay fans, and you married a Spice Girl, which is the gayest thing a human being can do," Lycett said in the video.

"But now, it's 2022 and you signed a reported £10million deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the FIFA World Cup. Qatar was voted as one of the worst places in the world to be gay. Homosexuality is illegal, punishable by imprisonment, and if you're Muslim, possibly even death.

"You've always talked about the power of football as a force for good, which suggests to me that you've never seen West Brom, but generally I agree."So with that in mind, I'm giving you a choice.

"If you end your relationship with Qatar, I'll donate this £10,000 of my own money - that's a grand for every million you're reportedly getting - to charities that support queer people in football.

"However, if you do not, at midday next Sunday, I will throw this money into a shredder, just before the opening ceremony of the World Cup, and stream it live on a website I've registered called benderslikebeckham.com.

"Not just the money, but also your status as a gay icon will be shredded. You'll be forcing me to commit a crime, although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught [engaging in sexual activity with another man] in [Qatar capital] Doha. The choice is yours. I look forward to hearing from you."

Social media erupts over David Beckham challenge

Lycett's challenge to Beckham has sent the internet into a frenzy, with users applauding the comedian for calling out Beckham and shining a spotlight on concerns around the Qatar World Cup.

While support for Lycett has been overwhelming on social media, other users have questioned why he would threaten to destroy the money at all, rather than donate it to a charity.

“Please don’t shred the money. That’s a lifeline to a small charity,” one user wrote.

Another remarked: “Could you include a clause that the £10k could actually go to a cause instead of being wasted? Loads available. Or maybe to Beckham’s pet hate. But not totally wasted.”

with agencies

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