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13th Nov 2022

Joe Lycett gives David Beckham a £10,000 ultimatum over Qatar World Cup

Tobi Akingbade

Joe Lycett called David Beckham ‘a gay icon’.

The stand-up star said he will donate £10,000 to charities if David Beckham pulls out of his World Cup deal with Qatar.

The football icon is a paid ambassador for the Qatar World Cup, and while the 2022 competition is just one week away  there have been growing concerns about the nation’s criminalisation of homosexuality.

In August, Beckham confirmed his reported £10million deal with an advert promoting Qatar tourism released in September ahead of the major sporting event.

His involvement – and the lucrative deal – has sparked fury among many who accused the sportsman of choosing ‘money over morals’.

In a video message, comedian Lycett addressed Beckham directly and called for him to end his relationship with Qatar.

‘This is a message to David Beckham,” he 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 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.”

He continued: “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.”

Lycett shared a link to his website Benders Like Beckham alongside the video message.

On the website, users can read his speech in full and also see a countdown to the start of the World Cup – the time Beckham has left to take action.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and anyone found participating in same-sex sexual activity can be punished by up to seven years in prison.

Foreign Office advice notes “any intimacy between persons in public can be considered offensive, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or intent”.

This comes after Dua Lipa revealed she would not be performing at the upcoming opening ceremony. 

She added that she will not visit the country until it has “fulfilled all the human rights pledges” it made when it was awarded the right to host the tournament in December 2010.

The World Cup kicks odd Sunday, November 20.

The country’s sweltering summer conditions also forced the traditional June and July dates to switch to November and December.

Sepp Blatter, the disgraced former Fifa chief who awarded Qatar the competition, conceded this week that it was a mistake to award the tournament to the country.

“It’s a country that’s too small,” Blatter said. “Football and the World Cup are too big for that.”

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