‘Odious’: Will Young shares outrage over David Beckham’s Qatar World Cup deal

Will Young has fiercely condemned David Beckham over the former footballer becoming a paid ambassador for Qatar during the World Cup.

The singer, 43, urged Beckham to donate to LGBTQ+ charities and called his reported £10m deal “odious”.

The 2022 tournament kicked off on Sunday (20 November) in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal and anyone found participating in same-sex sexual activity can be punished with up to seven years in prison.

Posting on Instagram, Young wrote: “Qatar is of course not the only country in the world with appalling records on human rights. The argument that sport is not political is duplicitous and two-faced.

“What is undoubtedly clear however is a star like you @davidbeckham who I once sang for (not for any money I hasten to add) at your birthday has disappointed me more than I can say.

“Our paths crossed a fair few times due to being with 19 Management and you were always friendly and generous...

“Here is what irks me the most – not a WHISPER from yourself David to show solidarity, not a WHISPER from yourself to show support for the practical massacre of migrant workers, not a WHISPER David to help LGBTQIA+ communities living under constant danger.”

Pop Idol winner Young, who wrote the 2020 book To Be a Gay Man about his experience of gay shame, urged Beckham to donate £1m to LGBTQ+ charities in Qatar for every year he is a paid ambassador.

He added: “Can something be salvaged from this odious deal? Perhaps those funds can help provide much-needed safety to those living in terror whilst your posters smile down on the people of Qatar.”

The Independent has contacted Beckham’s representatives for comment.

Young’s move comes after Joe Lycett offered to donate £10,000 of his own money to LGBTQ+ charities if Beckham ended the sponsorship before the World Cup started. He threatened to shred the cash if not, and on Sunday posted a video of himself appearing to do so.

Lycett later revealed that, while the money he threw into the shredder had been real, what came out was fake, and he had actually donated to the charities.

The comedian then pulled out of a copy of Beckham’s 2002 Attitude cover, which was the first ever cover of a gay magazine with a Premier League footballer on it.

Lycett shredded the cover, clarifying that he’d asked Attitude for permission and they were “more than happy to oblige”.

Many fans have also been upset with Morgan Freeman, who was involved in the opening ceremony.

And numerous celebrities, such as Dua Lipa and Shakira, refused to perform at this year’s tournament to show their support against the human rights abuses in Qatar.

Additional reporting by Press Association