Beckhams: World Cup bust-up

The Beckhams are in hot water over the controversial World Cup

david victoria beckham

by heat staff |
Published on

Brand Beckham used to be bulletproof, but insiders say Victoria is increasingly stressed as the backlash against husband David and his ambassador role for World Cup host Qatar reaches boiling point.

We’re told she’s not only feeling deeply worried about the negative impact on the family business, but also how it’s affecting their friendships.

Former footballer David signed a multi-million pound deal to promote the country, where attacks on LGBTQ+ communities are common and homosexuality is punishable by death. He’s been accused of hypocrisy as he’s always stood in alliance with the LGBTQ+ community – supporting Pride events, speaking out in support of gay footballers, and being honoured as a top ally in the LGBT+ Awards. And let’s not forget David Furnish and Sir Elton John – who is godfather to Brooklyn and Romeo – are two of Becks’ best friends. Their close friend DJ Fat Tony also posted on Instagram urging fans to boycott the World Cup.

david beckham
Chatting with former Qatari PM Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani ©getty images

“David is usually unflappable in the face of controversy. But this Qatar furore is different and is jeopardising important friendships. There could be huge bust ups,” an insider tells heat. “Victoria is feeling very exposed right now, and is worried about David becoming public enemy number one. She fears they may have done the wrong thing and is worried that, if they lose the support of fans, especially the gay community, it’ll be very hard to recover.”

Last week, comedian Joe Lycett slammed David’s silence over the backlash and shared an email he’d sent to David’s PR team asking him to end his association with Qatar. Joe added that he would donate £10K to LGBTQ+ charities if David ditched the deal, but if he refused, Joe promised to shred the money.

Urging David, 47, to respond, Joe said, “I really don’t want a national treasure who has historically supported the LGBTQ+ community to publicly endorse and advertise a nation state that has an appalling human rights record and has the death penalty for gays – call me old fashioned!”

Journalist Andrew Pearce also hit out at David, insisting he should “hang his head in shame”, while human rights activist Peter Tatchell said the family brand was taking a huge battering.

With the Beckhams’ combined net worth at over £380m, many critics slammed David for the lavish payout, with journalist Matt Lawson accusing him of choosing “money over morals”.

“The headlines saying David is just out for money are really upsetting for Vic,” the insider says.

“She knows David isn’t doing it for financial reasons, but for football. He sees the sport as being a progressive force. Vic wants him to speak out about his role and explain his reasons. Staying silent isn’t helping and it makes them look guilty.”

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David initially went into business with Qatar in 2020 when he signed a deal – believed to be up to £180m – which also included sponsorship of his Inter Miami football team. “The deal with Qatar was very much about Inter Miami. Without the money, the club couldn’t have launched,” the insider says. “So, David probably feels his hands are tied now.”

In David’s video message in Doha last week, he claimed the event would be a platform for inclusivity and tolerance. But the message did not appear to land well with most commentators. One called his involvement “deeply embarrassing”. Another posted, “You sold your soul”, while a third wrote, “What an appalling, greedy man.”

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