David Beckham’s controversial £10million Qatar deal may have scuppered his chance of a knighthood
- The expensive deal means Beckham will be the face of the Qatar World Cup
- He claims he can bring about change from within and use football ‘for good’
- But the deal has prevented him becoming ‘Sir’ – an honour he has long desired
A fresh bid to secure David Beckham a knighthood has failed, The Mail on Sunday understands.
The former England captain is thought to have been formally nominated and included in the official recommendations for the honour.
But despite clearing tax hurdles that are believed to have stymied previous attempts to become a ‘Sir’, he was again unsuccessful.
Sources last night suggested his decision to sign a controversial £10 million deal to be the face of this year’s World Cup in Qatar may have hampered his chances.
The deal, revealed by The Mail on Sunday in February last year, sparked widespread criticism, given Qatar’s woeful record on civil liberties and gay rights.
Embarrassing emails from 2013 revealed Beckham wrote: ‘Unless it’s a knighthood, f*** off’
Beckham attends the Doha Forum in Qatar ahead of the long-anticipated football World Cup
An insider said there had been anxiety that the Qatar deal could stand against him with the honours committee that scrutinises nominations.
‘David has done some extraordinary work but the deal with Qatar was not necessarily a sensible one to sign if he wants to be a Sir,’ one source said. ‘It has terrible optics.
‘He is taking a lot of cash to promote a country where women and gay people are vilified. With the money all squared off and his huge charity contribution, the Qatar issue is something now standing out as a problem for him.’
Beckham insists that his involvement with Qatar provides the opportunity to bring about change from within and to ‘use football as a force for good’, but gay magazine Attitude accused the former Manchester United midfielder of hypocrisy after he praised Blackpool’s Jake Daniels for coming out.
In a withering Instagram post, Attitude – on whose cover the ex-footballer famously appeared in 2002 – wrote: ‘David Beckham continues to keep his money just about as far as possible from where his mouth is when it comes to the LGBTQ community.’
Beckham’s representatives approached HM Revenue & Customs two years ago to settle his finances after he was caught up in a tax-avoidance scheme.
Sources say Beckham and his wife Victoria paid a ‘substantial sum’ and, with a clean bill of financial health with the taxman, Beckham supporters were free to resume their bid to get him knighted. The 47-year-old was awarded an OBE in 2003 and Victoria was given the same honour in 2017.
Five years ago, embarrassing emails revealed Beckham had branded the honours committee ‘unappreciative ****s’ in 2013 and dismissed lower awards, writing: ‘Unless it’s a knighthood, f*** off.’ Beckham’s team say he has a long record of supporting charities, including Unicef, where he has been a Goodwill Ambassador for 18 years.
He has raised £50 million for charity and also played a key role in London winning the rights to stage the 2012 Olympics.
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