David Beckham smiling wearing a suit

David Beckham ‘proud’ to have been ambassador for Qatar 2022 World Cup

David Beckham smiling wearing a suitDavid Beckham played at three World Cups for England in 1998, 2002 and 2006

Former England captain David Beckham says he was “proud” to have been a Qatar 2022 World Cup ambassador.

Beckham was criticised for associating himself with a country where same-sex relationships are illegal.

The Gulf state’s treatment of migrant workers has also been questioned by human rights campaigners.

“I had a lot of conversations with the LGBTQ community when I was there and they said they’d been treated perfectly fine,” Beckham, 48, told Sky Sports.external-link

“They felt it was the safest World Cup they have had for a long time.”

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Some LGBT fans boycotted the tournament over Qatar’s treatment of gay people, where homosexuality is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

The conditions migrant workers lived and worked in while building the World Cup stadiums and male guardianship rules that curtail women’s freedoms also came under intense scrutiny.

Days before the World Cup began comedian Joe Lycett appeared to destroy £10,000 of his own money in a protest against Beckham’s role with the tournament, saying he was shredding it along with Beckham’s “status as a gay icon”.

Lycett later confirmed he had not really destroyed the cash and had in fact donated the money to charity.

The host country’s World Cup organisers stated “everyone is welcome” to visit and watch the matches, claiming no-one would be discriminated against.

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The authorities also said there were three ‘work-related’ deaths on actual stadium construction sites since work began in 2014 – and 37 more off-site fatalities that are not ‘work related’. The Supreme Committee vowed worker welfare was a priority.

“Whatever partnership I go into within the business we always do our homework on everything,” added Beckham.

“To be involved in another World Cup for me was important. I’ve always said football is a game that should be shared around the world.

“This was an opportunity for another nation, for the Arab world to host one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

“Once we were there we knew there we going to be people who either talk about it a little bit more, or let the football do the talking.

“It was a great tournament. A lot of people were happy there.

“It was an important competition and one I was proud to be part of.”

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