Qatar is not one of the traditional footballing nations, but there is no shortage of funds, so it is not at all surprising that the small country has signed agreements with ex-players who can authentically connect with fans during the World Cup. Among the big names, there was one who represented a class apart himself: David Beckham, the retired legend.
According to original plans, Beckham’s first outing was at a fan event, with the England star and several former players appearing together at a fan area set up near the Corniche on Doha’s Gulf coast, to greet fans and then give an interview on a purpose-built stage. The football player nodded at the plans, but his team set two conditions: David Beckham’s presence will not be announced in advance, and reporters will not be notified.
The plan fails miserably. The fan zone at Al Bidda Park was so deserted at the scheduled time that the event was canceled even though the former football players were already behind the scenes, according to New York Times sources familiar with the plans.
This bizarre incident is a good representation of the extraordinary relationship between Qatar and Beckham during the weeks of the World Cup, as what really happened is that for heavy billions, so much has been made that one of the most famous celebrities in the world is everywhere. At the same time, but not fully present.
He doesn’t say anything
David Beckham’s face has been adorned on billboards all over Doha. They also appear in half-time ads and social media ads promoting tickets to cultural events in Qatar. He has also been seen in the VIP stands at World Cup stadiums and was photographed visiting the England national team before their elimination.
What the legendary footballer didn’t do, whether when he signed to represent Qatar nearly two years ago for an advertised fee of more than $150 million, or during the World Cup, was talk about why he agreed to be an ambassador, or answer questions about his many Controversies surrounding Qatar’s hosting of the world’s most watched sporting event. Qatar has come under attack for its human rights record, laws penalizing homosexuality, and its treatment of guest workers recruited from the world’s poorest regions to build World Cup stadiums. Now Beckham seems to have completely eluded the embarrassing questions they asked, moreover, the fact that he spectacularly avoids open press appearances is already becoming apparent: at a planned event in London, tournament organizers wanted to promote the work of the artist who also created the official posters, but The star here too was only willing to appear if the media couldn’t be there.
Such hesitations have always marked Beckham’s position, because in addition to his refusal to really speak outside of censored forums; He has given only rare commentary on FIFA TV or World Cup-related friendlies, and expressed himself on social media, carefully avoiding the uncomfortable topics of the Qatari standings. In recent months, he had a total of one statement, which is correct, but it was copied, but it dealt with the issues of the Qatar arrangement, and the press team of the celebrity for The New York Times responded as follows:
David has participated in many World Cups and other major international tournaments as a player and ambassador, and has always believed that sports can have a positive impact on the world. We are aware that there are different and strongly aligned views on its involvement in the Middle East, but we are confident that discussion on key issues has been directly stimulated by the first World Cup to be held in the region. We hope that these conversations will lead to more understanding and empathy among all people, and progress can be made in this area as well.
This is unpleasant for everyone
The above statement, quite general, is a good example of how no one can be truly happy about Beckham’s activities in Qatar. Some Qatari officials have been unhappy for months, aware that Beckham has refused to commit on their behalf, despite his contract to promote Qatar and the country and not just the World Cup. In their view, by not speaking out and avoiding questions from the media, Beckham used his influence in a sometimes counterproductive way, and despite paying millions of dollars, Qatar’s reputation continued to deteriorate.
However, the acceptance of millions of Qataris hasn’t helped David Beckham’s reputation either, which has deteriorated dramatically in Great Britain, particularly within the LGBTQ community, who even treated the $150 million deal with the former footballer as a hero and symbol for related causes. The extent to which Beckham insults this community is clearly shown by the fact that a doctor named Nasser Mohammed, who claims to be the only Qatari gay, recently revealed: He tagged Beckham’s Instagram account in a post about threats to homosexuals living in the country. in Qatar, to which the superstar and his social media management team responded by imposing a ban.