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Why are footballers ignoring Qatar’s crimes?

Beckham in Qatar: “loathsome” propaganda

I’m currently plagued by a pop-up advert featuring David Beckham in Qatar, says Rod Liddle in The Spectator, in which the “smirking tattooed oaf” enjoys a spot of desert falconry and buys spices in a Doha market. This and other “loathsome” pieces of propaganda, which attempt to distract us from the thousands who died building infrastructure for next month’s World Cup, reportedly netted Beckham £150m. But he’s not the only supposed progressive ignoring the Gulf state’s crimes. The “ineffably liberal Danes” have, in order to show their support for human rights, made their kit a little darker and plainer than usual. “Well, that’ll do the trick.”

In France, many cities have announced a ban on big public screenings of their team’s games – including Paris, whose biggest football club, Paris Saint-Germain, is owned by “a Qatari mogul who was instrumental in ensuring that the World Cup ended up in his godawful country”. And what of England? Our much-lauded manager, Gareth Southgate, supports captain Harry Kane’s plan to wear a “One Love” rainbow armband, but has said precisely nothing about the repressive leaders of Iran, England’s first opponent. I suppose that, in protest, Southgate could direct his team to lose all their games and exit this foul competition early. “In fact, given his abilities as a coach, I suspect that one way or another that is precisely what the England team will do.”