Joe Lycett criticises David Beckham’s role in Qatar World Cup: “Your status as gay icon will be shredded”
Joe Lycett has shared a message for football icon David Beckham, urging him to end his partnership with the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
The 2022 World Cup runs from November 20 – December 18 in and around the capital city of Doha, and is being held amid ongoing criticism regarding the death of migrant workers in the creation of stadiums and the country’s views on homosexuality, which is illegal in Qatar.
In a message posted to his social media accounts and on new website benderslikebeckham.com, Lycett criticised Beckham for his reported £10million sponsorship deal with Qatar around the tournament, and offered to donate £10,000 of his own money to queer charities if Beckham ended the sponsorship before the tournament started. If not, it would be shredded on the opening day of the tournament.
“This is a message to David Beckham,” his video message began. “I consider you, along with Kim Woodburn and Monty Don, to be a gay icon. You were the first premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like Attitude, to speak openly about your gay fans, and you married a Spice Girl which is the gayest thing a human being can do.
“But now it’s 2022 and you’ve signed a reported £10million deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the FIFA World Cup. Qatar was voted as the one of the worst places in the world to be gay – homosexuality is illegal, punishable by imprisonment, and if you’re Muslim, possibly even death.”
Lycett went on: “You have always talked about the power of football as a force for good. Which suggests to me you have never seen West Brom. But generally I agree – so with that in mind I’m giving you a choice. If you end your relationship with Qatar I will donate ten grand of my own money (that’s a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting) to charities that support queer people in football.
“However, if you do not I will throw the money into a shredder at midday next Sunday, just before the opening ceremony of the World Cup and stream it right here. Not just the money, but also your status as gay icon will be shredded.
“Also you’ll be forcing me to commit what might be a crime. Although even then, I reckon I’ll get off more lightly than I would if I got caught whacking off a lad in Doha. The choice is yours. I look forward to hearing from you.”
Watch the full video below.
— Joe Lycett (@joelycett) November 13, 2022
Elsewhere, England manager Gareth Southgate has said that his players will speak out about human rights abuses in the host nation during the tournament.
Speaking after announcing his 26-man squad for the tournament, which sees England facing Iran for their first match on Monday, November 21, Southgate insisted his team will be open about issues surrounding the location of the World Cup.
“We have always spoken about issues we think should be talked about, particularly the ones we feel we can affect,” he told the media.
“Contrary to one or two observations in the last few weeks, we have spoken in the same way other nations have spoken about this tournament, the human rights challenges. We’ve been very clear on our standpoint on that.”
The coach added: “Regarding the LGBT community, we stand for inclusivity and we are very, very strong on that. We think that is important in terms of all our supporters.”
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