Former gay icon David Beckham this week finally attempted to justify accepting millions of dollars from the autocratic Qatari regime to act as an ‘ambassador’ for the 2022 World Cup.
The former soccer player is reportedly receiving $272 million over 10 years from Qatar, $17 million of it for his World Cup duties. Media reported this week that he moved from a $36,000-a-night hotel room after fans discovered his whereabouts.
Speaking on behalf of the former soccer player, a spokesperson said Beckham “has always believed that sport has the power to be a force for good in the world.
“We understand that there are different and strongly held views about engagement in the Middle East but see it as positive that debate about the key issues has been stimulated directly by the first World Cup being held in the region.
“We hope that these conversations will lead to greater understanding and empathy toward all people and that progress will be achieved.”
Russia and China
Yeah right! How did that go with the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia?
Oh, that’s right. Putin sent soldiers into Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula four days after the games finished. Then, in 2018, Russia hosted the World Cup, the specific event Beckham believes will lead to ‘greater understanding and empathy’. But earlier this year, the President of Russia ordered an invasion of the entire country of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the power of sport to be a force for good saw further losses of liberty for LGBTIQA+ people inside Russia. They are increasingly at risk of harassment and violence with no hope of protection from their government.
Similarly China, host of the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2022 Winter Olympics. The increasingly autocratic regime of the Communist paramount leader Xi Jinping sees a steady erosion of human rights for almost 20% of the world population.
FIFA also lauded its gifting the World Cup to Qatar as an opportunity to effect change. (Without mentioning the massive corruption involved.) But the soccer federation then meekly accepted the host nation backtracking on an undertaking to allow pride flags into World Cup stadiums.
The closing ceremony and final game take place tonight after an event that generated an estimated 7.5 Billion in revenue for FIFA.
Rumour has it, the headliners for the closing ceremony will provide yet more cause for disappointment from LGBTIQA+ fans. It seems more celebrities will soon be lining up to swear they only accepted the millions of dollars because they thought it would lead to progress.
Meanwhile: back when he was an ally, David Beckham doing pushups in his underwear.
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