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25th Oct 2021

Amnesty International urge David Beckham to use Qatar ambassador role for good

Reuben Pinder

The charity want Becks to raise awareness of Qatar’s human rights abuses

Amnesty International have urged David Beckham to use his position as an ambassador for the Qatar 2022 World Cup for good, and raise awareness of the country’s human rights record.

It was reported at the weekend that the former England captain, who finished his career at the Qatari-owned PSG, had agreed a £150m deal to be the leading figure in promoting the World Cup, which will take place in the winter of 2022.

The news inevitably provoked a backlash, with many criticising Beckham for going into business with a nation where at least 6,500 migrant workers are reported to have died during the construction of its football stadiums.

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s CEO, said:

“It’s not surprising that David Beckham wants to be involved in such a major football event, but we would urge him to learn about the deeply concerning human rights situation in Qatar and be prepared to speak out about it.

“Qatar’s human rights record is troubling – from the country’s longstanding mistreatment of migrant workers, to its curbs on free speech and the criminalisation of same-sex relations.

“Qatar’s mistreatment of migrant workers – the people whose hard work is making the World Cup possible – is especially disturbing.

“Despite some welcome reforms, migrant workers are still being left unpaid, and the authorities have failed to investigate thousands of deaths in the past decade despite evidence of links between premature deaths and unsafe, searingly-hot working conditions.

“More needs to be done for this World Cup to leave a positive legacy and transform the human rights situation in Qatar.

“FIFA has an important role to play in helping to drive change in Qatar – especially in raising labour abuses associated with World Cup preparations. David Beckham should use his unique worldwide profile to keep the world’s focus on the human rights issues surrounding the matches, and not just the play on the pitch.”