Uproar over David Beckham's $277 million deal with Qatar

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Pictured here, David Beckham and wife Victoria pose at an awards night together.
David Beckham's reported deal to be the face of the Qatar World Cup has caused uproar in the football world. Pic: Getty

Legendary sporting icon David Beckham has been called out over reports he's signed a $277 million (£150m) deal to be the face of the Qatar World Cup in 2022.

According to The Sun, the Manchester United and England legend flew to Doha this month for a week of meetings with dignitaries, where he signed a ten-year deal.

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It's understood Beckhmam will next month be unveiled as the face of the showpiece tournament set to kick off in the oil-rich Arab state next year.

Qatar has been widely criticised for its human rights record, with discrimination against women and homosexuals frequently reported.

The paper claims Mr Beckham consulted with his wife Victoria before signing the deal and was assured that fans would be allowed to display rainbow flags in stadiums.

David and Victoria Beckham watch an MLS game together from a private box. Pic: Getty
David and Victoria Beckham watch an MLS game together from a private box. Pic: Getty

It's understood the growing presence of women in politics in Qatar was another swaying factor for Beckham.

“David believes in Qatar’s commitment to progress and that the World Cup — the first to be held in the Arab world — can effect significant positive change," a source said.

“He strongly believes in the power of football to bridge differences but, crucially, has seen the progress on issues that matter.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Beckham added: “David has always talked about the power of football as a force for good on many levels.

“As we reach the one year to go point he will join the wider football community that is coming together for the World Cup 2022 and he’s looking forward to what he thinks will be a great tournament.”

David Beckham's Qatar deal raises eyebrows

Many have taken to social media to criticise Beckham's deal as a shameless money grab, insisting the football legend - already worth an estimated $663 million (£360million) - is putting money above everything else.

"It's not surprising that David Beckham wants to be involved in such a major football event, but we would urge him to learn about the deeply concerning human rights situation in Qatar and be prepared to speak out about it," Amnesty International UK CEO Sacha Deshmukh said.

"Qatar's human rights record is troubling - from the country's longstanding mistreatment of migrant workers, to its curbs on free speech and the criminalisation of same-sex relations. 

"Qatar's mistreatment of migrant workers - the people whose hard work is making the World Cup possible - is especially disturbing. 

"Despite some welcome reforms, migrant workers are still being left unpaid, and the authorities have failed to investigate thousands of deaths in the past decade despite evidence of links between premature deaths and unsafe, searingly-hot working conditions. 

"More needs to be done for this World Cup to leave a positive legacy and transform the human rights situation in Qatar. 

"FIFA has an important role to play in helping to drive change in Qatar - especially in raising labour abuses associated with World Cup preparations. David Beckham should use his unique worldwide profile to keep the world's focus on the human rights issues surrounding the matches, and not just the play on the pitch."

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