Socceroos great Craig Foster claims David Beckham has ‘irreparably damaged’ his reputation by working as an ambassador for Qatar… and SLAMS Gianni Infantino for NOT being willing to uphold FIFA’s human rights policy: ‘It’s absolutely disgraceful’
- Beckham has signed a $246-million deal to promote Qatar and the World Cup
- Craig Foster believes the decision has tarnished his reputation
- Gianni Infantino gave a controversial speech on Saturday defending Qatar
- He likened own experience as a red-headed child to that of gay people
- World Cup kicks off on Sunday in Doha, with Qatar facing Ecuador
- Click here for all your latest international sports news at Daily Mail Australia
- Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results
Craig Foster has slammed David Beckham for ‘irreparably damaging’ his legacy by choosing to be an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The former Socceroos legend also reserved scathing words for Gianni Infantino, accusing the FIFA president of not being willing to uphold the body’s own human rights code and of trying to deflect criticism.
The World Cup gets underway on Sunday amid grave concerns over the Arab nation’s human rights record and its treatment of migrant workers, with thousands believed to have died during the construction of stadiums for the tournament.
David Beckham has signed a 10-year $246million deal to promote Qatar and the World Cup
Qatar’s discrimination against the LGBTIQ community and women have also been repeatedly highlighted in the lead-up to the tournament.
Beckham reportedly signed a 10-year deal to promote the World Cup and Qatar, a decision Foster feels may have terminally tainted his profile.
‘I think it already has,’ Foster told Channel 10’s The Project TV on Sunday morning, when asked whether Beckham’s reputation would be affected by his decision to act as an ambassador for the World Cup hosts.
‘What we picture David Beckham has irreparably been damaged. […] He was seen as a gay icon and that became part of his brand and now, rightly, the LGBTIQ community around the world are feeling as though perhaps that was just part of his branding and it wasn’t authentic.
The former England captain has been savaged by football fans for taking money from a country that has abused migrant workers and made homosexuality illegal
Former Socceroos captain Craig Foster has added his voice to the chorus of criticism
‘Because to now be able to promote Qatar and say outwardly that it’s a fantastic place to come without mentioning the criminalisation and the oppression of the LBGTIQ community, that’s clearly contrary to all the statements he’s made in the last 20 years.’
Foster noted Beckham wasn’t alone among former footballers ‘rushing into Qatar to be paid a considerable amount of money and to be silent’ and insisted the sport was not been well served by ex-players as an advocate for social justice.
One of Australia’s most renowned and respected football pundits, Foster is a human rights activist and said he hoped Beckham would still use his platform to speak out.
‘He has such an incredibly powerful brand that he is in a position where he can make positive change,’ he said.
‘It would be wonderful if he admits his error and turns around and starts speaking up on their [the LGBTIQ community] behalf.’
A spokeswoman for Beckham told NewsCorp: ‘David has always talked about the power of football as a force for good on many levels.’
FIFA president Gianni Infantino held a bizarre press conference on Saturday morning
Infantino spoke for an hour before taking any questions from the media at his press conference
Foster was similarly dismissive of Infantino and branded the FIFA’s president speech on Saturday as ‘one of the most bizarre rants’, which contained ‘horrendous comments’.
FIFA’s president hit out at criticism of Qatar from Europe on the eve of the World Cup and even likened his own experience as a red-headed child to that of gay and disabled people in a bizarre 57-minute press conference.
‘To conflate his experience in a private school in Switzerland to the oppression and criminalisation of the LGBTIQ community and the thousands of deaths of migrant workers is just absolutely disgraceful,’ Foster said.
A commentator for Stan Sport, Foster acknowledged there was a ‘measure of prejudice’ in the criticism of Qatar from media around the world. However, he warned that Infantino’s rant was just an attempt to avoid accountability.
Infantino said that if Europe ‘really cared’ about the migrant workers they would do as Qatar did in creating ‘legal channels’ for them to come in
‘There’s been immense harm here that people are rightly outraged by and what Infantino is doing is just deflecting from the fact that much of that criticism has been of him and has been of FIFA,’ he said.
‘And so by trying to deflect everything on the Qatari government he [Infantino] is just trying to avoid his own accountability.
‘The worst thing in the end is that he keeps talking about morality. […] He has a human rights policy that he has to uphold. […] The most disappointing thing here is that while FIFA have their own human rights policy, the president of FIFA clearly doesn’t understand it.
‘And to the small extent that he does he is not willing to uphold it and certainly doesn’t want to be accountable to it and that’s deeply disappointing.’
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