‘Brand Beckham’ will suffer by association with Qatar 2022 World Cup, says GlobalData

Following the news that David Beckham has signed a $150m deal to become an ambassador for the Qatar 2022 World Cup;

Conrad Wiacek, Head of Sport Analysis at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“‘Sport-washing’ is now a term almost synonymous with the Middle East’s involvement in soccer, and David Beckham taking money from the regime in order to be the poster boy for the next World Cup will attract severe criticism for the former England captain and leave ‘Brand Beckham’ under threat.

“While it can be argued that Beckham’s involvement will shed light on some of the perceived injustices, brands may look to distance themselves from any hint of controversy. As a result, many of Beckham’s personal endorsements and those of the MLS team he owns, including Inter Miami, may come under threat – especially some of the more high-profile deals such as those with Procter & Gamble and the new front-of-shirt sponsor XBTO.

“Fifa’s decision to award the World Cup to Qatar has attracted lots of criticism, with people citing human rights abuses in the country as a concern. This issue has only been exacerbated by the shocking working conditions encountered by migrant workers involved in the stadia and infrastructure projects that are needed to deliver the event. While Beckham will be expected to promote the World Cup ahead of the winter 2022 start, many will be eager to question him on perceived human rights abuses in the country, leading to potentially awkward press conferences.”

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