Peter Tatchell, the human rights campaigner, has urged the former England football captain David Beckham to reconsider his decision to become an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup, which is due to take place next year.
The decision by FIFA to award the tiny desert kingdom the jewel in the crown of international football has been consistently mired in controversy with many of the personnel involved in the selection of Qatar having left their posts amid allegations of corruption. Football fans around the world remain baffled as to how a country with no football heritage and a climate entirely unsuited to the physical exertions of the game could have been considered the most suitable venue for the world’s premier single sport tournament.
Mr Tatchell told the Metro, “David Beckham has been a great ally for gay and women’s rights. His decision to promote a homophobic and sexist regime like Qatar comes as a big shock. I urge David to think again.
“His work for Qatar could cause grave damage to his reputation.”
According to The Guardian, more than 6,500 migrant workers have died on World Cup construction sites over the past ten years amid allegations of de facto slave labour working conditions.
Not a nice regime.
Mr Tatchell continued, “Homosexuality is punishable in Qatar by three years in prison and there are secret gay conversion programmes that attempt to make gay people straight.
“People have been arrested for merely ‘looking gay’, it is not a nice regime.
“Women are treated as second class citizens, they have to get permission from a male guardian to study, marry and travel.
“Since Qatar was granted the right to host the 2022 World Cup over 6,500 migrant workers have died, many on construction projects and more than two thirds of their deaths have been unexplained.”
A spokesperson for David Beckham told The Times, “David has been visiting Qatar regularly for over a decade and went on to play for PSG [Paris Saint-Germain], so he has seen the passion for football in the country and the long-term commitment that’s been made to hosting the World Cup and delivering a lasting legacy for the region.
‘He’s always talked about the power of football as a force for good … 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.’