The former football player and model was spotted in Qatar earlier this month.
An alleged £150 million figure to sign former British football star David Beckham as an ambassador for Qatar 2022 has been slammed as pure sensationalism, a source with knowledge of the deal confirmed to Doha News.
British tabloid papers, including The Sun, claimed on Sunday that the deal to have Beckham as an ambassador for the 2022 FIFA World Cup was worth £15 million a year and will last “over the next decade”, bringing the total to a whopping $150 million.
While an agreement has been made between Beckham and the World Cup organisers, the actual figure and duration of the deal is far from what has been reported by British media, a source involved in the deal, who requested anonymity, told Doha News.
“As usual, tabloids like The Sun have opted for sensationalism rather than facts in a cheap attempt at clickbait,” said the source, noting an alleged “ten-year deal” would be practically unfeasible considering the World Cup is scheduled for next year.
The reports come just weeks after Beckham was seen touring various landmarks in Qatar, including Souq Waqif and Msheireb. He also met with officials from the Gulf state’s football organising body, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.
Despite this, no news was announced during his visit.
Beckham is known to have close ties with Doha and PSG’s president, Qatari national, Nasser-Al Khelaifi. His appointment as an ambassador for Qatar 2022 would see him join a long list of international, regional and local football legends, including Tim Cahill, Cafu, Samuel Eto’o, Xavi Hernández and Mohammed Aboutrika, among others.
Since rumours of the deal first surfaced, Beckham has been hit with a barrage of criticism for a “strange and poor decision” to become the face of Qatar despite concerns over its human rights records.
However, a source told The Sun that he “believes in Qatar’s commitment to progress and that the World Cup – the first to be held in the Arab world – can affect significant positive change.
“He strongly believes in the power of football to bridge differences but, crucially, has seen the progress on issues that matter.”
A spokeswoman for the footballer also said: “David has always talked about the power of football as a force for good on many levels.”
During a previous 2019 visit to the Education City Stadium, Beckham said football inspires change.
“That’s what the World Cup is all about – giving countries the chance to host the biggest competition in the game. It changes economies, changes people’s lives, changes fan experiences and gives people an opportunity to experience football in places you wouldn’t expect to visit. It’s given Qatar an opportunity to do something that’s so special and, as you see, something unique is really being created here,” Beckham said in 2019.
More than 1 million football fans are expected to flock to Qatar for the major sporting event next year. With less than 400 days to kick off, Qatar has promised an exciting tournament at full capacity.
“I think as a player and a fan you want to visit a World Cup competition with great facilities, safe facilities, great hotels and great culture – and that’s what Qatar is all about,” Beckham added.
“Players are going to be spoiled here.”
Before establishing US football team Inter Miami CF, Beckham was a star player for Qatar-owned French team Paris Saint-Germain [PSG] in 2013 – the same year he ended his career as an athlete.
The superstar footballer-turned-manager won 19 major trophies during his 20-year career and his net worth stands at over £34 million.