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David Beckham 'proud' of Qatar ambassador role at World Cup despite LGBTQ+ rights criticism

Former England captain David Beckham has been the target of severe criticism from an LGBTQ+ fans group for his decision to become a paid ambassador for the Qatar World Cup

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David Beckham defended his support for the Qatar World Cup and says that it was one of the safest World Cup's for the LGBTQ community.

David Beckham has insisted he was not upset by the criticism he received over his decision to accept millions of pounds from Qatar to serve as a football ambassador for last year's World Cup, despite the country's stance on LGBTQ+ rights. 

Speaking at the premiere of his new Netflix documentary, when asked if he had done his homework about what life is like for gay people in the Arab country, he said: "I always do that.

"Let the football do the talking, it was a great tournament, a lot of people were happy.

"I had a lot of conversations with the LGBTQ community when I was there. They said they had enjoyed the games and they felt it was the safest World Cup they'd had for a long time, it was an important competition and one I was proud to be a part of."

Qatar's criminalisation of homosexuality, as well as human rights violations, led many to criticise the awarding of the tournament.

Di Cunningham, co-founder of Three Lions Pride, said at the time: "One of the difficulties we're having is people taking the money in order to promote Qatar, to promote the World Cup.

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Concerns about rights abuses in Qatar saw FIFA in 2017 create the human rights advisory board - it was abandoned in 2019.

"We're just so disappointed because the LGBTQ+ community has had David Beckham on a pedestal as a great ally, and then it turns out he's an ambassador for this World Cup and that's incredibly disappointing. So I hope the message has got through that people will be criticised for that."

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Beckham was widely criticised for his decision to accept millions of pounds from the Qatari regime, given the claims from campaigners that the community lives with persecution and police beatings.

"Once we were there we knew that there was going to be people that spoke about it a little bit more," Beckham said. "I've always said that should is a game that should be shared around the world.

"This was an opportunity for another nation and for the Arab world to get a World Cup to host one of the biggest sporting events in the world."

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