Will Qatar World Cup tarnish David Beckham’s reputation?

Can ANYTHING tarnish David Beckham’s reputation? Experts claim backlash against star’s deal with Qatar will NOT last because he’s ‘like Teflon’ when it comes to scandals

  • David Beckham, 47, under fire for being ambassador of World Cup in Qatar 
  • Reportedly was paid £150million to promote the controversial sporting event 
  • But it is not the first time  he’s landed himself on the bad side of public opinion 

Before the World Cup started on Sunday, football great Craig Foster claims David Beckham has ‘irreparably damaged’ his reputation by working as an ambassador for Qatar as he spoke to Channel 10’s The Project TV

The footballer has reportedly been paid £150 million but has faced a backlash for refusing to end his partnership with the sporting event over a long list of human rights issues.

However, it is not the first time the footballer has been dogged by scandal. In fact, over the years, the Man United veteran has become as well-versed in dodging sticky situations as he was in scoring goals. 

It appears Beckham can always bounce back. When his violent kick against Argentinian player Diego Simeone earned him a red card and cost the UK their chance in the 1998 World Cup, the country eventually forgave him and he became England’s captain two years later. 

In 2003, the same year he received an OBE for the Queen at Windsor Castle, Beckham’s marriage was at the centre of a media storm over rumours that he was cheating on his wife Victoria with his PA Rebecca Loos. However, the couple weathered the storm and came out of it stronger than ever.

Then when his email were hacked in 2017, revealing he had been using his philanthropic work to push for a knighthood for years and called the Honours Committee ‘unappreciative c***s,’ the scandal also blew over.  

So will the striker’s popularity be dented by his Qatari association? Nothing is less sure, Edward Coram James, CEO of multi award winning digital marketing, PR and branding and reputation management agency Go Up, told FEMAIL. 

He's made bank thanks to the association, but could David Beckham's controversial work with the Qatar World Cup end up costing him much more than the £150million he has reportedly earned from the deal? The Jury is still out. Pictured during England's game against Iran yesteday

He’s made bank thanks to the association, but could David Beckham’s controversial work with the Qatar World Cup end up costing him much more than the £150million he has reportedly earned from the deal? The Jury is still out. Pictured during England’s game against Iran yesteday

Beckham, who received an OBE from the Queen in 2003, pictured, was accused of using tax avoidance schemes that cost him a knighthood in 2014

Beckham, who received an OBE from the Queen in 2003, pictured, was accused of using tax avoidance schemes that cost him a knighthood in 2014 

‘Yes, he has suffered controversies. But none of them have been significant,’ Edward said. 

‘The public is quick to forgive an affair, especially a rumour of an affair, and the Knighthood push was embarrassing for Beckham but was also not serious and far from fatal. 

‘In may ways, for such an enduring figure that has been around for decades and sits firmly in the public eye, it is remarkable that Beckham has not been caught up in more scandals than he has been. It testifies to a man that, in the grand scheme of things, has lead a relatively squeaky clean life,’ he went on. 

Edward added that David’s ‘British cool image’ has endured throughout decades. 

The first controversy to surround Beckham happened in 1998, pictured, when he violently kicked Argentinian player Diego Simeone, left, during the second round of the World Cup that year

The first controversy to surround Beckham happened in 1998, pictured, when he violently kicked Argentinian player Diego Simeone, left, during the second round of the World Cup that year

In 2004, Beckham's former PA Rebecca Loos claimed she had a three months affair with the footballer in 2003, a claim which Beckham has always denied

In 2004, Beckham’s former PA Rebecca Loos claimed she had a three months affair with the footballer in 2003, a claim which Beckham has always denied

‘Much like a world famous logo that retains its core but goes through routine refreshes to remain relevant, Beckham has been an expert at adapting his personal brand to fit the times, while never losing the essence of what he represents,’ he said. 

The cleanest example of this is his fashion style, which blends hits of Steve McQueen with muted fashion forward touches. The enduring masculinity of his personal style is aspirational to people across the world. 

‘There is also, of course, the legacy image of Beckham the sporting legend turned sporting entrepreneur and mentor.’

The expert added that Beckham’s enduring popularity is also down in part to nostalgia.  

‘His unashamed Britishness, pitch perfect manners, athleticism, good looks, duty to country, immaculate fashion sense and understated masculinity make him a living embodiment of the James Bond archetype that is much loved but disappearing fast in British culture,’ he added. 

‘We forgive James Bond for having the odd affair and being a bit grumpy from time to time. Because, well, he’s James Bond! As such, I would expect his legacy to endure for many years to come,’ he went on. 

Speaking to The Times, chief creative officer at the advertising agency Havas, Vicki Maguire said: ‘He’s Teflon. The most sponsored man in the business. The world will forgive him anything.’

Meanwhile, PR expert Mark Borkowski, who wrote The Fame Formula said: ‘Beckham isn’t an individual any more, he’s a corporation in his own right. He’s a money-making machine.’

The first controversy to surround Beckham happened in 1998, when he violently kicked Argentinian player Diego Simeone during the second round of the World Cup that year. 

Diego Simeone fouled Beckham first, which angered the player, who retaliated by kicking him in the calf, in what British media later called ‘a moment of madness.’

Simeone later admitted that his intention was to get Beckham sent off, but it was too late, as the Manchester alum’s action had already angered British footie fans. 

He also admitted he played up his injuries after Beckham’s strike to make sure he would get a red card.  

Beckham was harshly criticised for the move, and was treated as a ‘villain’ by the world of football for his actions during the game against Argentina. 

Many believed that the fact he got sent off cost England the win and was the main reason the team lost their chance at winning the tournament. 

Beckham even received death threats following the World Cup,  in which was later described has his ‘darkest hour.’

But the sportsman eventually recovered from the controversy, and after England was defeated by Portugal during the 2000 Euro, newspapers asked for the public to strop abusing the player. 

That same year, as the negative repercussions of the 1998 World Cup began to wear off, he was promoted to team captain following Keven Keegan’s resignation as England’s captain. 

Joe Lycett faked a video where he shredded £10,000 cash of his own money after he pleaded with Beckham to drop his deal with Qatar over human rights

Joe Lycett faked a video where he shredded £10,000 cash of his own money after he pleaded with Beckham to drop his deal with Qatar over human rights 

Beckham’s redemption was total when, in 2002 he played an instrumental role in getting England qualified for the World Cup, leading the team t victory in a 5-1 face off with Germany. 

While his professional reputation was restored, scandal struck once again in his personal life after he was spotted leaving a club in Madrid with an unknown woman. 

It was revealed in 2004 that the mysterious party girl was his PA Rebecca Loos. 

Her brother told the Daily Mail: ‘She has confirmed to me she had an affair with David.’

Mr Loos said his ‘heartbroken’ sister feared she could now be seen as ‘a marriage wrecker’. ‘She knows her life will never be the same after this,’ he added.

Before the World Cup started on Sunday, football great Craig Foster claims David Beckham has 'irreparably damaged' his reputation by working as an ambassador for Qatar as he spoke to Channel 10's The Project TV

Before the World Cup started on Sunday, football great Craig Foster claims David Beckham has ‘irreparably damaged’ his reputation by working as an ambassador for Qatar as he spoke to Channel 10’s The Project TV

The beauty, who was a former glamour model, came out of the woodwork, claiming she and the footballer had a three-months-long affair the previous year. 

Victoria and David defiantly stuck together after his alleged infidelity with Rebecca. 

In response to Loos’ brother’s comments, David released a statement.

‘During the past few months I have become accustomed to reading more and more ludicrous stories about my private life,’ it read.

‘What appeared this morning is just one further example. The simple truth is that I am very happily married. I have a wonderful wife and two very special kids. There is nothing any third party can do to change these facts.’

Rebecca sold her story to the News Of The World- before appearing on a string of reality TV shows, appearing topless on the cover of Playboy and Zoo and making a number of red carpet appearances – although she has now shunned the spotlight.

While the story was heavily discussed by the media around the world, the whirlwind around the rumoured died out, with Victoria and David standing strong in the face of the storm. 

As David moved to the US to breathe new life into his career and raise his four children, he also escaped media scrutiny. 

But he found himself at the centre of another media storm in 2017, when the Mail revealed he had missed out on Knighthood from the Queen due to his taxes. 

Insiders confirmed at the time there was effectively horse-trading between a Whitehall committee and the superstar’s advisers.

Beckham and his PR machine were left reeling after his emails were hacked in 2017, releasing 18.6million emails and documents hacked by the Football Leaks website from the servers of Doyen Global, the firm run by the ex-footballer’s PR chief Simon Oliveira.

It emerged at the time that Beckham was on the verge of becoming Sir David in the 2014 New Year’s Honours list until a secret ‘red flag’ warning from HM Revenue and Customs sunk his nomination. Beckham’s involvement in an alleged tax avoidance scheme had scuppered his hopes.

The Honours Committee had already agreed that Beckham’s nomination – almost certainly proposed by his PR advisers – was well ‘merited’. But then came a routine check of his tax affairs. A source close to the committee told the Mail: ‘HMRC gives us a flag – it’s red, amber or green. Beckham was a red. His taxes were the problem.’

The leaked emails include a number of bombshells and series of sweary-rants and may even have been used as part of a £1million blackmail plot. 

The former footballer was one of dozens of wealthy celebrities who invested in the controversial Ingenious Media scheme to fund movies and reduce investors’ personal tax liability.

HMRC labelled the scheme a tax avoidance vehicle. It is understood the Honours Committee then entered into an extraordinary dialogue with Team Beckham to ‘sort out’ the issue, raising the suggestion that high-profile individuals can be told what they need to do to get a knighthood.

Beckham does not appear to have appreciated the attempt to help him. The leaked emails reveal that when he found out he had been passed over in 2013, the ex-England captain denounced the committee members as ‘a bunch of c***s’ who were ‘unappreciative’ of his national treasure status. He branded the honours system ‘a f***ing joke’.

The footballer representatives said at the time that the allegations were based ‘on outdated material taken out of context from hacked and doctored private emails from a third-party server and gives a deliberately inaccurate picture.’ 

Last year, it was revealed that Beckham’s efforts to receive a knighthood were back on track after he sorted out the tax avoidance allegations against him. 

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