The 2022 World Cup will take place in Qatar. It will be the first World Cup in an Arab country.
Qatar is an extremely prosperous peninsula in the Middle East that juts out from Saudi Arabia into the Persian Gulf. Qatar is smaller than the state of Connecticut but happens to be on the world’s third largest natural gas well and one of the 15 largest oil wells.
Thanks to these incredibly fortunate geographic circumstances, Qatar is the richest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. This is how their police drive Bugattis, Porsches and Lamborghinis (seriously, google it … although I think the vast majority of Qatari police cars are Suzuki and other more normal SUVs).
For example, the Qatari royal family can afford a $ 1 billion ransom if a few dozen family members are kidnapped on a falconry excursion in Iraq.
In this way, the tiny country can pay David Beckham $ 200 million to become its tourism ambassador.
In a deal just announced by The Daily Mail, David Beckham will reportedly earn around $ 20 million a year for the next 10 years to “act as an ambassador for the country and promote tourism and culture” .
The deal has been described as being valued at more than $ 20 million a year, but also potentially up to $ 277 million over the decade.
Unfortunately, Beckham got into hot water because Qatar is also quite controversial.
According to Amnesty International:
“Qatar’s human rights record is worrying – from the country’s longstanding mistreatment of migrant workers to restrictions on freedom of expression and the criminalization of same-sex relationships … Of particular concern is Qatar’s mistreatment of migrant workers – the people whose hard work makes the World Cup possible.“
The US State Department accuses Qatar of having done forced labor, especially in the run-up to the World Cup. Up to 6,500 migrant workers have died working on World Cup-related projects, according to a Guardian analysis.
The Daily Mail claims that homosexuality in Qatar carries three years in prison and that men can be jailed for just “appearing” to be gay.
It should be noted that neither Qatar nor Beckham publicly endorsed the advertising contract, but the Daily Mail sources claim it is official. In addition, private jet watchers have been tracking Beckham’s private plane flying in and out of the country on a number of occasions recently. While touring the country on a visit, he praised Qatar’s hotels and stadiums.
Some critics are trying to understand how Beckham can reconcile his support for Qatar and his work as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador with his staunch support for LGBTQ rights.
Beckham certainly isn’t the first celebrity to land in Qatar’s hot waters. In 2017, Jennifer Lopez was embarrassed after she allegedly received $ 3 million for appearing at an event in Qatar where she spent 20 minutes providing Q&A on women’s rights.
Commenting on Beckham’s deal, Rothna Begum, a senior women’s rights researcher with the Human Rights Watch campaign group, said:
“Celebrities who are paid to promote the Qatari state who believe in women and women’s rights should use the opportunity and access to those in power to inquire about what is going on.“
On the other hand … it’s $ 200 million … I don’t care if you’re already worth nearly half a billion dollars (that’s our current estimate for Mr. Mrs. Beckham), $ 20 million each Year over 10 years to smile and wave in a few commercials … hard to resist!
Would you take the money from Qatar?