Human rights campaigners are criticizing David Beckham for signing a controversial $277m World Cup deal with Qatar
- David Beckham has signed a $277m deal with Qatar to serve as an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup.
- The upcoming soccer tournament has magnified concerns about Qatar's human rights records.
Soccer legend David Beckham is facing criticism from human rights campaigners for reportedly signing a $277m deal with Qatar to serve as an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup, The Mail on Sunday reported.
The former England captain is expected to earn close to $21m per year over the next decade in the role and will promote tourism and culture in the Middle Eastern nation, The Sun said.
Beckham traveled to the Qatari capital Doha earlier this month to meet with dignitaries and toured stadiums ahead of next year's World Cup tournament, per The Sun.
But the sportsman is facing criticism for becoming the face of a nation accused of human rights abuses.
Homosexual acts between consenting men are illegal in Qatar and subject to up to five years in prison. A US Department of State report on human rights practices in Qatar found that there are significant restrictions on free expression, reports of forced labor, and deep discrimination against women.
Veteran LGBTQ rights activist Peter Tatchell told The Mail On Sunday that it is "really disappointing" that Beckham is promoting Qatar in return for money given its "dismal" human rights record
"He has made a huge mistake. I hope he will think again," Tatchell said. "This doesn't square with his professed support for women's and LGBT+ rights."
Rothna Begum, senior women's rights researcher at campaign group Human Rights Watch, also told The Daily Mail that she was disappointed with the deal. "Celebrities who are being paid to promote the Qatari state who consider themselves to be pro-women and pro-women's rights should be using the opportunity and access to those in positions of power to enquire about things that are happening," she said.
Some Twitter users questioned whether Beckham's new role might be at odds with his position as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
-Katie Hind (@katiehind) October 23, 2021
-Mike P Williams (@Mike_P_Williams) October 24, 2021
Insider reached out to Beckham for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
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