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Friday 26 August 2022

Own goal as Beckham accepts Qatari cash

David Beckham was a pretty decent footballer.

But post-football the former England international has become something of a publicity-seeking show pony.

His latest money-making stunt hits new lows.

Ahead of the World Cup in Qatar - a country slammed for its human rights abuses - Beckham is shamelessly spruiking the Middle East destination as a great place for a holiday.

Perhaps the reason he is so keen on Qatar is the fact that he signed a reported £150 million 10-year deal to become a tourism ambassador. That's an eye-watering $255 million in Aussie dollars.

Amnesty International says: "In the decade since Qatar was awarded the right to host the World Cup, exploitation and abuse of migrant workers has been rampant, with workers exposed to forced labour, unpaid wages and excessive working hours."

Human Rights Watch and the International Trade Union Confederation allege that the Kafala system leaves all migrant workers vulnerable to systematic abuse.

And, of course, homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and Amnesty says women and LGBTQ+ people "continue to face discrimination in law and practice".

But none of that worries David.

"From exploring the winding spice markets of Souq Waqif, soaking up local street art, cooking tacos [tacos?], camping in the desert, and sightseeing around Doha by motorbike, Beckham accompanies local personalities to discover a country of countless surprises," says Qatar's PR spiel.

Apparently, over 80% of the world’s population live within a six-hour flight from Qatar and Qatar Tourism is seeking to raise awareness of "the world’s best value stopover packages" through Qatar Airways.

The chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker, said: “It has been a pleasure to welcome David to Qatar, where he has immersed himself in the culture and experienced first-hand the warm hospitality of the people".

A pity that stadium workers were not given such a great welcome. The Guardian reported that
6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since it was awarded World Cup hosting rights. 

Shameless Beckham says: “Qatar has surprised me with a wide range of great experiences you can have in just 48 hours. The people are warm and welcoming, and it is a great place to spend a few days.”

I think I'll pass.

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