Qatar’s £10million World Cup ambassador David Beckham tells locals ‘today is your day to dream’ in big screen video address in Doha
- The former England captain signed a controversial £10 million deal with Qatar to be an ambassador for this year’s World Cup, that kicks off on Sunday
- He has faced criticism over the deal due to Qatar’s poor human rights record
- Addressing a ‘youth festival’ event in a pre-recorded message, Beckham gave a speech in which he spoke of Qatar’s ‘dream’ of hosting the World Cup
- Gulf state has been accused of using the tournament to ‘sportswash’ its image
- Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results
Qatar’s World Cup ambassador David Beckham has delivered a video message in Doha, telling young locals that ‘today is your day to dream’ ahead of the start of the 2022 tournament.
The former England captain and globally recognisable figure signed a controversial £10 million deal with Qatar to be an ambassador for this year’s World Cup.
But Beckham, 47, has faced criticism for agreeing to fill the role on account of Qatar’s poor human rights record, amid accusations that the country is using the tournament to sportswash its global image.
Qatar’s World Cup ambassador David Beckham has appeared in a video (pictured) praising football’s ability to make the world a more ‘tolerant and inclusive place’ – despite criticism of the gulf state’s human right’s record
In a pre-recorded message, Beckham told a ‘generation amazing’ event that in the coming days, attendees would see how football can make ‘the world a more tolerant and inclusive place’ – despite the criticisms of the host nation.
‘Every one of the great players I was lucky enough to play with, started in exactly the same way – in a back garden, park or a street outside their home with just a ball and an imagination that they dared to let run wild,’ he told the crowd of young people.
‘Almost two decades ago a small group of football lovers from Qatar had an equally fantastic dream – that they could bring the greatest footballing show on earth to their home country and to the middle east for the very first time.
‘And now we are here. Because when dreams are harnessed and mixed with dedication and hard work, they are no longer dreams – they become reality,’ he said.
With Qatar 2022 World Cup tournament now just days away, the world’s media has begun to descend on the country. Footage of Beckham’s pre-recorded speech delivered on three large screens was shared on social media by a reporter.
The video showed a crowd of young people sitting in chairs laid out on artificial grass, some wearing suits and others in Qatar’s more traditional white clothing.
‘Today is your day to dream,’ Beckham continued. ‘Because there is no limits to what you and your teammates can achieve in our beautiful game.
‘Dreams can come true. That’s why your here. You share Generation Amazing’s twin passions for the game of football, and for making the world a more tolerant and inclusive place,’ he said.
David Beckham, pictured in Qatar, has signed a promotional contract with the country reportedly worth £10 million
According to the group’s website, Generation Amazing is an organisation that uses football to ’empower young leaders in Qatar’ including youth advocates, coaches, volunteers, players and participants.
The organisation has been working towards the 2022 World Cup, culminating in the ‘Generation Amazing Youth Festival’, which Beckham’s speech kicked off.
‘Over the course of the next week, with the help of our inspirational course leaders and our fellow ambassadors, you’ll learn how football skills and values can extend far beyond the pitch and into schools and the communities that you live in,’ he said.
‘And if you ever doubt that the festival’s ambitions are possible, remember, that it too began as a dream. Qatar dreamed of braining the world cup to a place it had never been before, but that it wouldn’t be enough just to achieve things on the pitch.
‘The pitch would be a platform for progress.
‘Even before this year’s festival kicks off, more than 1 million lives have been touched to create an inspirational global community of coaches, educators and new young leaders. It all began as a dream.
‘That is now yours. So please be inspired and pass it on,’ Beckham concluded.
Pictured: Former England player David Beckham (left) attends One year to go until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on November 21, 2021
The decision to award Qatar hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup has been marred by controversy, including allegations of corruption and human rights violations, since it was first announced 12 years ago, ensuring how the host country treats visitors will be heavily scrutinised.
Homosexuality is still illegal in Qatar, and anyone found participating in same-sex sexual activity can be punished with up to seven years in prison.
Meanwhile, more than 6,000 migrant workers are reported to have died in the country building stadiums and other infrastructure for the tournament.
Qatar’s leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has fought back against the criticisim, saying the country ‘has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has ever faced.’
The tournament kicks off in the gulf state on Sunday, with Qatar playing Ecuador.
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