The former British footballer signed a millionaire deal to represent the country prior to the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
David Beckham will be Qatar’s new ambassador, the country to host the 2022 World Cup. According to The Mail on Sunday newspaper, the sportsman signed an agreement of $10 million (US$13.8 million) to represent the country.
The former footballer’s nomination as ambassador was surprising, as David is an allied member of the LGBT+ community, and in Qatar homosexuality is completely illegal and punishable by imprisonment or flogging.
According to a 2019 Forbes magazine article, the Middle Eastern country is the second most dangerous country in the world for LGBT+ people.
Sources told the newspaper that Beckham was assured that Qatar is “relaxing its policy” about LGBT+ persecution in the country, and that’s why he accepted the contract.
Others criticized Victoria Beckham’s husband for accepting the deal with a country opposed to that community.
The Mail on Sunday also reported that negotiations between Beckham’s advisers and the Qatari committee in charge of World Cup preparations have been underway for at least a year. And they are believed to have established a “personal agreement” with Beckham.
One source from Qatar added about the negotiation: “Of course, there are concerns about its reputation, but there is enough money so that optics don’t matter as much,” he said.
Another source noted, “David has so many profitable businesses that you wonder why you would want one like this.”
Currently, Qatar’s penal code criminalizes same-sex sex with a penalty of up to seven years in prison.